Research Plan

Students wishing to compete at the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair must submit a Research Plan that complies with all Rules and Regulations of the International Science and Engineering Fair.

A detailed research plan describes how you plan to conduct your research. Define a hypothesis, develop a procedure, and obtain the appropriate approvals before starting your research.

Your research plan is a required part of the project registration form.

Research Plans Must Include
  • Project Title – choose a descriptive title that conveys information about your project.
  • Problem(s) or Question(s) being researched
    • Include a brief synopsis of the background that supports your research problem and explain why this research is important and if applicable, explain any societal impact of your research.
  • Hypothesis(es) for research project or Objective for engineering project – your expected outcome
  • Procedures and Methodologies:
    • Detail all procedures and experimental design including methods for data collection.
    • Risk and Safety: Identify any potential risks and safety precautions needed.
    • Include chemical and drug doses if applicable.
    • Data Analysis: Describe the procedures you will use to analyze the data/results that answer your research question(s) or hypothesis(es).
  • Bibliography: List at least three (5) major references (e.g. science journal articles, books, internet sites) from your literature review/research. If you plan to use vertebrate animals, give an additional animal care reference.

Projects involving any of the items listed below require prior approval. A research plan must be submitted to the CSEF Scientific Review Committee prior to the start of research and no later than December 1.

Human Subjects/Human Subject Questionnaires (See instructions on page 8-11 of the ISEF Rule Book)

  • Detail all procedures, include what the participants are asked to do
  • Describe Risk Assessment process and how risks will be minimized
  • Describe Study Sample/Participants voluntary nature of participation and right to withdraw at any time
  • Include survey or questionnaires if used, and critically evaluate the risk

Non-human vertebrate animal research (See instructions on page 12-14 of the ISEF Rule Book):

  • Briefly discuss POTENTIAL ALTERNATIVES and present a detailed justification for use of vertebrate animals
  • Explain potential impact or contribution this research may have
  • Detail all procedures to be used
  • Describe housing and oversight of daily care
  • Discuss disposition of the animals at the termination of the study
  • Observational studies of animals in their natural habitat do not require additional ISEF forms.

Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents (See instructions on page 15-18 of the ISEF Rule Book):

  • Describe Biosafety Level Assessment process and resultant Biosafety Level determination
  • Give source of agent
  • Detail safety precautions
  • Discuss methods of disposal

Hazardous Chemicals, Activities & Devices (See instructions on page 19-21 of the ISEF Rule Book):

  • Describe Risk Assessment process and results
  • Detail chemical concentrations and drug dosages
  • Describe safety precautions and procedures to minimize risk
  • Discuss methods of disposal

Biological research involving animals, humans, pathogenic agents, or recombinant DNA is not allowed except in industrial settings with proper supervision.

Project registration must include the state fair project registration form, research plan questionnaire, and research plan. The online research questionnaire describes what additional forms are needed for life science and possibly hazardous projects. Copies of the CSEF required forms are available at: ISEF Forms and the Document Library on this website.

You can also use the ISEF Rules Wizard to determine what forms you need.

The forms must be completed on-line, then signed where required and uploaded as PDFs. High school and non-EZ Path middle school projects are required to submit their research plans for review by the CSEF Scientific Review Committee prior to the start of research and no later than December 1.

If there are questions regarding project eligibility, contact the Fair’s Registration Chair, Mrs. Evelyn Brown, at