Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsOther - Science · 8 years ago

Why don't very advanced science fair projects follow the "normal" format?

I'm aiming to start researching more advanced topics (for science fair) so that I don't have to keep making mundane projects that are overdone and uninteresting. The thing is, I feel that I couldn't really do that? At school, they are adamant about the whole "What is the effect of ___ on __?" or "What is the relationship between ___ and ____?" I know that it's because they want us to strictly adhere to the scientific method, but it just doesn't seem like real science to me. I am amazed by all the cutting-edge research that is conducted by teenagers just a few years older than me, such as the projects that win the Intel ISEF, but they never seem to follow the same format. For example, (you might have heard this in the news), there was a freshman from Maryland who developed a cheaper and more effective test for pancreatic cancer for his science fair project. I just don't understand how you could put that into terms of independent and dependent variables. It's not like he was testing differences between methods that already exist. He was innovating, unlike normal science fair projects. All of these amazing projects are things that people come up with. He did this for school, as well. It wasn't independent research that he just randomly did. So how do they make their projects translatable to the format that schools force on participants? Also, this is a bit of a tangent, but I also need advice on how to get a mentor/how to get access to labs and advanced equipment to do research. Thanks for taking the time to read. :)

2 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    See the best answer at the first reference. These sources can answer a lot of your questions, including various ways science is done, and how to get help. It's much easier to get help when you demonstrate that you are seriously interested. For someone who takes the science fair seriously, see the second reference.

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  • johnm
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Probably because of their prior work, they get more leeway. Sort of like artists, who are not taken seriously until they produce good art along the same lines as was done before; people then trust the artist is capable and may be onto something with a new painting method or style.

    Actually, the gifted science fair student has to prove his new discovery works to a greater degree than others that follow a known experiment to a known conclusion. This often involves statistics, level of confidence, and many repeated trials. The experiment needs to be thoroughly documented so other researchers can repeat the experiment and come to their own conclusions.

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