Citing your sources for a science fair project is done the same way as any other research paper. Your teacher will provide rubrics for the assignment and let you know what citation style you should use to format your entries.
Usually, in middle and high school, students are asked to use MLA citation style, even for science projects. MLA style is easy to use with the new revised style of using core elements within containers. When you develop your science fair project, you will create a poster board and a short report.
Organizing Your Science Fair Report
Although requirements can differ depending on your teacher’s assignment, here is a good outline for you:
Topics for Science Fair Project
Your teacher will give you guidance on finding topics for science fair projects. These fun projects are common for science fair projects:
- Solar system
- Growing seeds
Interesting Websites for Science Projects
It’s easy to create commonly known science experiments like slime and volcanoes: however, your teacher may want you to try some other interesting projects. Or maybe you’d like to find a unique idea to present. Check out these websites for some good ideas.
Science Buddies is a popular website for finding accurate information and fun ideas for science project ideas. You can find topics organized by grade level. Ideas include building a volleyball machine or a LED night light. Science Buddies website even provides citations for their source in MLA and APA to make your citing even easier!
Here are the citations provided for their experiment on color and taste of food.
Note: MLA 8 no longer requires adding an access date. It is optional.
(source: Science Buddies)
Science Fair Project Resources
Science Buddies: Science Buddies
Learning Center: Learning Center
Researching Science Fair Projects
Once you’ve identified your science fair project, you will need to do some research. Your teacher will tell you how many sources you need to back up your research. A science fair project means coming up with a hypothesis then creating and performing experiments to prove or disprove it.
Look for reliable, authoritative sources. Magazines such as National Geographic, Scientific American, and Discover are good places to look for current research. Ask your school or public librarian for help too. Be careful with websites, just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s true.
- Look for websites with URLs ending in .edu, .gov or .org
- Prepare a preliminary bibliography with all the sources you find.
- Follow your assignment rubric or your teacher’s instructions carefully.
Creating a science fair project is stressful to think about but actually can be a fun activity. Remember to cite all your sources so you aren’t plagiarizing other people’s work.