“Research means that you don’t know, but are willing to find out”
– Charles F. Kettering
Many a times students in High School want to build research skills through summer programs, partnering with research institutes, joining private research organisations and also self-learning using resources on the Web. The ability to perform research efficiently and effectively is a key skill that the curriculum such as IB (International Baccalaureate) demands. Additionally, ‘research leading to publications’ is a coveted extra-curricular that greatly enhances college applications. And many undergraduate programs need students to perform research as part of the coursework.
The objective of this site is to make several resources available in a single place for students in grades 9 to 12 to build the research skills that are needed well beyond high school into undergraduate college programs too. This portal will have methods to conduct research as well as tools and templates needed for high school research and publications.
3.0 About Research
3.1 Why build research skills in high school?
- It is important to prepare high school students for the rigor of research in undergraduate programs
- Strong research skills are also very useful in IB for writing IAs and EEs
- Building strong research skills can help students publish research outside school curriculum and build a stronger college application
3.2 Types of research : Research can be published in multiple ways such as the follows:
- Original articles : Articles which typically 2500 – 6000 words, 30+ references, this type of article contains original primary research after obtaining data from primary or secondary sources
- Review articles : Typically consist of secondary research and are normally 3000 – 6000 words, 45+ references. They include historical perspectives, opinions or commentaries on past research.
- Research letters : Typically short, less than 1000 words, containing summaries of primary or secondary research.
- Short notes or briefs : Typically 500 words long, includes 4-5 references, is a brief explanation of a concept, opinion, or perspective
3.3 Steps in Research : There are several resources available on how to conduct research, how to write an article, and seek publication. Each of these will be explained in the subsequent sections.
3.3.1 How to choose a topic : Researchers often struggle to find a topic and a question to do research on. Prior to selecting a question, it is recommended that the field has some literature available to add additional findings to a certain field of study. Additionally, the research question should not be outdated, i.e, it is still relevant in our day to day life. Lastly, but most importantly, the research topic should be about a field that you are truly interested in.
3.3.2 How to write an article : Scientific writing is an important skill to be developed, check this step-by-step guide for beginners in writing a scientific article :
Key components : The key components of an article include :
Abstract : an overview of the research paper. A good abstract contains the research paper’s purpose, materials and methods, observations and conclusion. The abstract also contains certain keywords that can be used to index the paper.
Introduction : The introduction is the first component of the paper and addresses the issue at hand. Most good introductions address the aim of the paper and detail as to why this topic is important.
Literature review : The literature review is arguably the hardest component of the research paper to write. It entails lots of effort spent reviewing other research papers who have already solved the same problem and learning how one can improve on prior research and what needs to be done to add to the field of study. The literature review is often the section with most citations. There are numerous types of citation styles, the most commonly used include MLA, APA, and Harvard. Certain publications require citations in one particular style.
Hypothesis : A hypothesis is a specific, verifiable prediction. After conducting an extensive literature review, it is important to form a hypothesis for the experiment based on prior studies. Guidelines for hypothesis driven research can be found at the Journal of Emerging Investigators
Data collection : In most studies, data is normally required to conduct analysis to study as to whether the hypothesis can be proven true or false. Original research involves data being collected from a primary source whereas a paper that extensively focuses on a literature review will most likely use data from another source. Data can be collected through multiple means. It is important to know however, that there are any animal, or human subjects involved in a study to obtain data, there are various ethical concerns governing the process. It is also important to seek informed consent from the participants of the study. For such experiments, it is necessary to obtain an IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval before starting the data collection which clarifies that the study will not violate the 1964 Helsinki declaration for ethical standards. Refer to the two links below for more details :
Analysis : Multiple statistical analyses can be done using excel sheets, R, python, etc… and results should be presented in tables and graphs in the final document. The more statistical tests in a research paper, the more valid the findings become. To do a causal analysis, regression is most frequently used. T-tests are mainly used to distinguish between means of different samples and chi-square to observe the difference in observed vs expected results in a study. For more information on statistical analyses, use this link – https://firstname.lastname@example.org/types-of-statistical-tests-b8ceb90e13b3
Conclusion : Articles should have a short, concise conclusion which summarizes the key findings of the paper and also suggests the limitations and scope for further research of the study.
3.3.3. How to do research: One can build research skills through
- Joining Summer programs in Science or Humanities (See Appendix 1)
- Examples of Science programs are SRA, RMP, SSP, BU Rise etc.
- Examples of Humanities programs are Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP), Stanford Summer Humanities Institute, Iowa Young Writers Studio
- Partnering with various research institutes such as IISC, IIMB, and universities of the USA
- Joining private research organizations such as Pioneer, Horizon, Polygence and iCrest
3.3.4 Publication of articles : Articles can be published on online publishers such as Springer (https://www.springer.com) , Elsevier , and the Journal of Emerging Investigators. List of other journals where you can try to publish are listed in Appendix 2.
3.3.5 Participation in research competitions : Any original research conducted can be submitted to science competitions such as Iris national fair and can participate internationally at Regeneron society for science
Appendix 1 : List of Science & Research Summer programs
- Clark Scholars Program
- Garcia Summer Scholars
- High School Summer Science Research Program (HSSSRP)
- Michigan State University High School Honors Science/Mathematics/Engineering Program (HSHSP)
- Minority Introduction to Engineering & Science (MITES)
- BU Research Internship Program
- Research Science Institute (RSI)
- Student Science Training Program (SSTP)
- Summer Science Program (SSP)
- Young Engineering and Science Scholars (YESS)
- Young Scholars Program at UC Davis
- SIP Program at UCSC
Appendix 2 – List of Journals for Publications for High School Students