Research Events Guidelines

All research events must be completed by teams of 2-3 students.  Research papers must be submitted to for review.  Coaches will be emailed account information near the time research paper submissions are due.


Ability to write a research paper with good organization and credible support

The required content components for the research paper are described in each individual Event Description.  Citations should follow ACS Style Guidelines.  (Oregon State University Quick Guide: ACS Cititation Style)  A complete list of references must be included in your Appendix Part 1.


  • a. Your written report may not exceed FIVE PAGES - 12 pt., 1.5 spaced plus a 2-Part Appendix (see below)  
  • b. Include a cover page that indicates the title of the paper, authors, school, team A or B (if applicable)

Use of credible resources

  • All research papers must be built upon information acquired from a minimum of 3 PRIMARY SOURCES.  These sources may both (or either) help the students develop their scientific knowledge of the subject and/or provide an example/model from which their engineering design or scientific procedures are based.
  • Photocopies of the first three pages of each primary source used in your paper must be submitted as part of your Appendix Part 2. (Three pages required to ensure more than an abstract is obtained)
  • Internet sources may also be utilized for research, but may not be the only source of information.  Resources will be evaluated by judges in terms of their authority on content, educational value and quality (vetted, researched and informed).   
  • Students are highly encouraged to seek assistance from experts beyond their coaches.  A list of all people who provided assistance should be included with brief description about the aspect of the research with which they assisted as part of your Appendix Part 1

PRIMARY SOURCES:  Articles found in peer-reviewed professional journals such as Nature, Science and Journal of Chemical Education.  Peer-reviewed professional journals are available at post-secondary academic libraries.  Peer-reviewed journals that are accessed online are acceptable.  Magazines such as Discover, Science News, Popular Science and Scientific American, although informatory are not peer-reviewed professional journals. 

Ability to demonstrate good scientific and/or engineering practices

All research and engineering events have a required hands-on investigatory element.  A large component of judging will focus on your ability to either develop and conduct an experiment or design and construct a device or model as outlined in the specific Event Description.  Your team must follow the scientific method as well as adhere to good science and engineering practices when developing and carrying out your intended investigation.  Be mindful that judges are looking for evidence of your team's dedication to the investigatory process and ability to plan and carry out an investigation or plan and construct the model required.  

Note the following rules/requirements about your investigation.

  • Any conclusions you form must be based upon your own experimental data from work you conduct at your own high school facility.  Commercial assistance is not permitted.
  • Intended experimental methods, design schematics, labeled pictures of set-ups or models should be included as part of your Appendix Part 1
  • Materials list with a verifiable cost value in terms of supplies used should be included as part of your Appendix Part 1
  • It is a requirement that NJCO Coach provide proper supervision for investigations.  Please review our NJCO Safetly Guidelines before beginning.

Ability to present, support conclusions from and answer questions about your team's experimental design, engineered design or constructed model

On event day, you will make a short 3-4 minute presentation to the judges.  This presentation must not reiterate your background scientific knowledge outlined in your research paper, but instead must only highlight (or show evidence of) your understanding through informed dialog.   Your team should present your planned investigation, engineered design or constructed model.  

The presentation should include the following:

  1. Methodology of your team's investigatory process to carry out planned investigation or develop constructed model.  
  2. Identification of variables manipulated or influenced by design.
  3. Data acquired from trials shown in graphical form.
  4. Conclusions based on evidentiary support linked to trials.  (Statistical evaluation of data is encouraged, but not required)

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is critical that your team practices your presentation to ensure the timing.  Failure to allow enough time for judges to adequately question your team about the research your team conducted will negatively impact your team's score.  Projectors with VGA and/or HDMI connections will be provided - schools must provide their own laptop computer.  A screen will be available.