• Scientific Research Paper Formatting Instructions

    Below are some general suggestions for formatting your science fair research paper.  Your teacher may have more specific requirments that you will need to meet. 

    General Rules:

    • New Times Roman Font
    • Size 11 font throughout the paper with the exception of section headings which should not exceed size 16 and table data which should not exceed 11 but may be decreased
    • Double spaced throughout. {Do NOT have extra empty space between sections}
    • 1 inch margins on all sides
    • Page numbers in upper right on all pages except title page.
    • No 1st or 2nd (I, you, we, he, she etc…) person writing used anywhere in the document with the exception of the conclusions
    • Be sure to cite all of the sources in APA format within the text. Do not overuse quotes. Summarize and paraphrase all research.
    • Always use metric units in all areas of the paper
    • Write all scientific names of species by capitalizing the first name, lower case the second name, and put whole name in italics. E.g.: Homo sapiens


    Title page:

    • Title in centered in middle of page in size 16 font or larger
    • Name centered directly below title in size 16 font or larger
    • Class name, class period, Teacher, and date centered on page in size 16 font or larger


    Table of contents:

    • Include Introduction, Experimental Design, Results, Analysis, Conclusions, Acknowledgments and Bibliography in the table of contents with page numbers



    • First (introductory) paragraph: Several interest grabbing and relevant sentences that lead up to the problem; problem is asked in the last sentence
    • Body paragraphs: Several paragraphs defining and explaining elements integral in understanding the experiment. Each paragraph should be cohesive and explain only one element or subject at a time. Each paragraph should naturally lead to the next main idea or subject.
    • Last (concluding) paragraph: Several sentences that tie together and summarize your body paragraphs and lead to the hypothesis. The hypothesis is stated at the end of this paragraph.


    Experimental Design:

    • A paragraph summarizing and describing the experiment should be the first thing in this section. Explain how the experiment will generally be performed and what data will be collected as a result.
    • Groups, Variables, and Constants: The control group, experimental group(s), independent variable, dependent variable, and constants should be listed. Do not write this in a paragraph, simply list them.
    • Materials: List all materials in two or three columns. Be sure to indicate quantities and sizes needed.
    • Procedure: Write the procedure in a numbered list. Keep it simple and easy to follow. Be sure to include all materials in the procedure.



    • Tables:
      • Title each table
      • Include category labels with units in parentheses
      • Describe the data in each table in a brief paragraph following each table


    • Graphs:
      • Title each graph with “Relationship between (the I.V.) and (the D.V.)
      • Label each axis and put units in parentheses
      • Make sure the scale of the graph shows your data clearly
      • If multiple lines are used, include a legend
      • Describe the data in each graph in a brief paragraph following each graph
      • Be sure to use line graphs when appropriate. Use bar graphs only if necessary



    • You may use 1st or 2nd person in the analysis section
    • First paragraph: Restate your hypothesis and say whether it was supported or not. Explain where and how the data supports your hypothesis and where and how it doesn’t support it. Do not explain why in this paragraph.
    • Second paragraph: Explain why you got the results you did. Since you have already stated where and how the data support (or doesn’t support) your hypothesis, now you need to explain why it worked out that way. This paragraph ties your background research in the introduction to your conclusions. You may use more than one paragraph in your explanation if necessary.
    • Third paragraph: Explain at least three errors that occurred in your experiment and explain how to avoid them when repeating the experiment. If there are flaws in the experimental design, explain where and why and suggest a new design that may work better.
    • Last paragraph: Explain why your experiment was important or purposeful. Suggest future experiments to perform that are related to your experiment but may shed more light on the main topic. Do this by suggesting several experiments that retain one of your variables but changes the other. For example, keep your independent variable the same but change your dependent variable.
    • Depending on your experiment the analysis may take more than 4 paragraphs to complete. Use the above as a general guideline when formatting your analysis.



    • Summarize the results of your experiment.
    • Do NOT introduce any new data
    • Can include information about how you could extend or change your project for next year.



    • Give credit to your parents or anyone who donated items or allowed you to use items or transported you places to buy items or to perform your experiment



    • You should have at least five sources.
    • All sources must be listed in APA format
    • All sources must be in alphabetical order
    • At least once sources must be print (book, magazine, newspaper, encyclopedia, journal…)
    • At least one internet source
    • Variety of sources
    • References listed are cited within the paper

    Citation resource

    Example Papers