Research Report

In addition to your display board, all fair participants (except grades K-3) are expected to produce a research report. This report does not have to be extremely long and detailed. It should however, be neat, well organized, and follow all grammar rules. The report should be in your own words and not copied directly from a book or website. Judges will probably expect a 5th grader's report to be of higher quality than a much younger student.

The easiest way to approach the report is to think of the 5 W's (and an H).

  • Why
  • How
  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where

If you were doing an experiment to see if fertilizer affects the growth of sunflowers, you might base your research report around these questions:

  • Why do we need fertilizer?
  • How do fertilizers affect plant growth?
  • Who invented fertilizer?
  • What are the ingredients in fertilizer?
  • When do plants need fertilizer?
  • Where should fertilizer be applied

Keep going - Now ask questions about sunflowers

  • Why does soil type affect plant growth?
  • How do minerals and nutrients affect plant growth?
  • Who would be a good resource in the community to contact about plants?
  • What are the elements required for plant growth?
  • When does photosynthesis affect plant growth?
  • Where in the plant does photosynthesis occur?

So all you have to do is think about your general topic (lightning bugs) and ask a few "w" questions. Get a book or go on-line and research the answers to your questions. Once you have the answers, just organize them into paragraphs. Voila! A research report!