Start Early! Many students begin planning their research at the end of the school year so that they can conduct research during the summer and fall.
Find a topic that interests you and research what is already known about the topic.
Narrow the topic to a specific scientific problem and develop an experiment to solve that problem. (See the Scientific Method to help plan your experiment).
Discuss the project with your parents and teacher and review with them the ISEF Rules and Regulations, noting the specific rules that might apply to your type of research (i.e. are you working with human subjects or animals or working with hazardous substances?).
Develop a hypothesis (Scientific Method) and develop a procedure.
Write a detailed research plan about how you will conduct the research and complete the required Intel ISEF forms and any additional local science fair forms required. You then must obtain the appropriate approvals as needed before the start of experimentation. This may involve being reviewed by your local Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Scientific Review Committee (SRC).
Once your approvals and forms are in order, begin your experimentation following your research plan and any revisions that those supervising or approving your research have recommended.
Interpret the data and observations.
Finalize your project for presentation.
Write the research paper and abstract (Intel ISEF does not require a research paper, some regional fairs do require it; check with your teacher or with your regional fair rules and handbook).
Create the project exhibit board being sure to follow the Display and Safety Regulations.
Practice your presentation and prepare to answer judges' questions.
Present the project at your school Science Fair, and/or your regional Intel ISEF-affiliated fair.