Required Versus Optional

The online applications include a number of required and optional fields. The required set provide judges with the minimal amount of information about your project. You can provide more information using the optional fields. We recommend you take advantage of these optional fields. This is very important for online-only events. It is also useful for events where you bring your project board to the fair because judges examine the application online.

The required Project info sections include:

  • Project title
  • Project category
  • Precertification (ISEF-only, optional)
  • Hypothesis/Project purpose
  • Research plan
  • Abstract
  • Project presentation
    • Primary image - image displayed with your project
  • Experimentation info (ISEF-only)
  • ISEF forms (ISEF-only)

The optional sections include:

  • Bibliography/Citations
  • Project questions
  • Project presentation
    • Project files
      • Presentation files - this includes items like a slide show or presentation board
      • Additional files - this includes any useful materials such as a lab note book, your research paper, etc.
    • Web pages (optional)
      • Project website - use this is you have a website specifically for your project
      • Project web pages - websites specifically related to the project. This can include websites where you may have materials stored such as GitHub.
      • Additional resources - useful links related to your project such as other competition sides, sources of special materials, etc.

The Bibliography/Citations is simply a list of resources you referenced or used when working on your project. The Project questions section contains a list of questions provided by the judges that will provide more insight into what, why and how you did your project.

The Project presentation section can be used to highlight what, why and how you did your project. Presentation files can include more detailed images of your presentation board (if you have one) or a slide show that could also be presented during in-person or online judging. Additional files may include a research paper you wrote on the subject, a lab notebook, program listings or other artifacts you may have created. There is no difference between uploading files to either of these sections other than to help judges or peers looking at your project a better idea of what those files contain. It is a good idea to name the files with descriptive names like LabNotebook.docx.

You do not have to upload information if you have posted this online. You can highlight a project website if you have one. Additional links can be include including ones for resources you think your peers would find useful. For example, this might include other competition sites that you may have worked with.

The lists of file and web pages should not be exhaustive or extensive. Half a dozen would be a long list. Do not replicate links or references from the Bibliography/Citations section. The files and links should be appropriate for the competition. In appropriate files or links may be removed and could a cause for disqualification.

The Release form will be event-specific. The event details and the application will indicate the type and process for to handle the release form. There are digital versions that allow online confirmation while others may require signatures on printed forms that then need to be scanned and uploaded.