Help me please! How do I get involved in scientific research?

I am a rising HIGH SCHOOL sophomore looking to get involved in scientific research and maybe submit a paper and go to ISEF. Please help me!!! Point me in the right direction!! I'm lost!!! How do i get a mentor???!! can i research what i want or what my mentor is researching???? Where do i go from here???!!!!

4 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I actually went this year (I'm a freshman) and I did scientific research at a lab, and I'm working on a project next year for ISEF, and again in a lab (but in a different professor.) Both my parents are NOT scientists or doctors or have connections.

    First, decide a general interest, very general, such as physics, chemistry or biology. But don't close all other options after that. I found my topic (nanotechnology) through complete accident and through the slightest of chances.

    Ask your teachers, definitely. They will definitely try to find someone. Unfortunately, my teacher contacted someone and no one was doing nanotechnology at that university.

    So what did I do? I called professors at a different universities. I asked if I could meet with them, talk to them, explain to them my goals and interests, and see if they can help me. I ended up with a great mentor. It's all about initiative- if you aren't willing to call up to find a mentor, how are you going to do a project with him?

    By the way, to do a project for ISEF at a lab you need form 1C, and there's a section where the professors have to write everything you did- so if you say to the judges you made a new solar cell, but on the form it says you only measured voltage, you will get in some trouble!

    Anyways, once you have a mentor, he or she will DEFINITELY help you find what you want to work on.

    Now, the scientific research/internship part. It looks great for college! Plus it may help you do more projects for upcoming years (trust me, you'll wanna return to ISEF!) After the science fair, e-mail different professors or ask your original one to conduct research with them.

    Once you tell professors you've competed at ISEF and you have previous experience, they'll pretty much let you work in their lab. But it's your duty to call them or e-mail them!

    Take it easy, and e-mail me if you have more questions at

    Source(s): In coming sophomore research with two professors already
  • eri
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    It's going to be hard, especially if you don't have any connections - most kids who end up at Intel or something similar have parents who were scientists or engineers who could just let them into their lab. It's hard enough to find a mentor willing to take on an undergrad, let alone a high school student - you just don't know enough to be helpful. Too much of a learning curve. Most people don't end up knowing enough about a field to publish a paper themselves until grad school or even after. There's just too much to learn.

    Try talking to your science teachers - maybe they have connections at a local college or university. Your best bet would be getting into a large lab, like bio, where you could do some menial task that needs to be done without much training. I supervise undergrad students for research projects in astrophysics, and they spend more time learning about the field than they do actually doing anything. And there are programs out there made for high school students to get research experience - NASA has one (NASA summer school), MIT has a few, look around a bit.

  • 1 decade ago

    First place to start is to ask your science teachers. If you have a particular subject that you want to research, ask if they can mentor you and help you with that project, or if they know someone who can. If they are no help, try asking a counselor. Most students that go to ISEF have participated in science fairs at their High School. Try getting involved in that! Find out as much as you can about ISEF from their website. Find a fair and get started:

    Source(s): Undergraduate research experience
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The best project that I have judged were the result of students working pretty much on their own. Find a subject that interests you and read until you find a statement that needs checking. You may disagree with it or want to extrapolate from it. Design a project to do so.

    Being a mentor can be a time-consuming pain in the you-know-what. On the other hand, many researchers can use volunteer help with their projects and will not mind answering A FEW questions from their assistants.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.