Guidelines for the Research Paper
There is a 10 page and 9MB limit for research papers submitted to the Junior Academy competition. This limit includes the title page and all references.
A good research paper should include the following:
- Title. Write the title of your paper in bold at the top of page 1, then add your name(s), address, school, and section directly underneath the title.
Place your abstract directly underneath the names/school address.
- Abstract. You are required to write a (maximum) 150-word, half page abstract. The abstract should include the purpose of the experiment, the procedure(s) followed, the data obtained and the conclusions.
- Introduction. The introduction gives the reader an overview of your paper. It should include your hypothesis, an explanation of what prompted your research, and what you hoped to accomplish.
- Theory. In this portion of the paper, discuss any necessary theory behind the experiment. It should go into more detail than the abstract. Also in this section, develop any equations or mathematical relationships which will be used in the calculations.
- Experiment/Procedure. Describe in detail the methodology used to collect your data or make your observations. Your procedure should be detailed enough so that someone would be able to repeat the experiment from the information in your paper. Include detailed photographs or drawings of self-designed equipment.
- Discussion. This section of the report allows you to comment on the experiment itself. What observations did you make? Comment on the data you obtained. Compare your results with theoretical values, published data, and expected results. Did anything unexpected happen during the experiment? What kind of errors occurred while performing the experiment? What could have caused them? How did the data vary between repeated trials? How were your results affected by uncontrolled events? If you repeated the experiment, what would you do differently? What other experiments should be conducted?
- Conclusion. Briefly summarize your results. Be specific, do not generalize. Never introduce anything in the conclusion that has not already been discussed.
- Acknowledgments. You should always credit those who assisted you, including individuals, businesses, and educational or research institutions. Identify any financial support or material donations received.
- References. Your reference list should include any documentation that is not your own (i.e., books, journal articles). The format for the reference should be appropriate for your discipline.