Research Paper Instructions and Information

Research papers are an oral and written presentation of your own investigation and experimentation. In a change for this year, library research papers are no longer allowed. Scientific thought and procedures will receive major credit in the judging. Judging criteria for library research papers will heavily stress the analysis and application of the researched data and the depth of the research effort (quality and quantity of the references).

Registration for research papers will occur in two steps.  First, students will fill out the registration form here and pay the registration fee of $11 per student. Within 24 hours of registration, the student(s) will receive an email with instructions on submitting their paper.  In a change from prior years' practice, the Central Minnesota Regional Science Fair will only be accepting electronic paper submissions.  It is strongly preferred that all paper submissions be in the form of a PDF.  For helpful tips and step-by-step instructions on how to convert your papers to a PDF, click here

The paper should be a minimum of 5-6 pages and a maximum of 20 pages, including appendices and a 200-word abstract. Photography, graphs, tables, diagrams, charts, or other graphic representation presented in the paper must be simply presented. A maximum size limit for the electronic research paper is 2 Mb.

A recommended outline for the research paper includes: 

  • a title page, or cover page stating the student’s name, school address, and title of the research; 
  • acknowledgement of major assistance received; 
  • as applicable, statement that “research involving non-human vertebrates or human subjects was conducted under the supervision of an experienced teacher or researcher and followed state and federal regulatory guidance applicable to the humane and ethical conduct of such research”
  • table of contents; 
  • introduction; 
  • materials and methods; 
  • results (data or findings); 
  • discussion and conclusions; 
  • references, or literature cited; 
  • and appendices (if necessary but please keep in mind that the introduction is far more valuable in the judging process than appendices of raw data).

Papers which are a continuation of prior work will be judged solely on the current year's work (Be sure to indicate so that it's clear to the judges what the current year's work is). Papers that do not follow these guidelines will NOT be judged. Please note that we cannot guarantee that late registrations will be judged. After preliminary judging, oral presentations will be by invitation only. Those invited to present their papers orally at the Regional Science Fair will be notified be email by February 18th.