The safety and ethics issues involved in a science projects are of utmost concern.
Adult Supervisors have a responsibility to assist students in considering their moral obligation to ethical issues and to provide direct supervision for project safety.
It is important that each student submit a written project proposal to an adult supervisor before actual experimental investigation begins. The science project is previewed by a Adult Supervisor from the written project proposal and discussed with the student before actual experimentation begins.
Qualified Professionals are required for those projects where the adult supervisor is not familiar with regulations that govern safety and ethical issues as they apply to a specific project. It is necessary for specially constutituted Safety Review Boards to preview projects which have risks as indicated below under Safety Assessment .
What is a Project Proposal?
Project Proposal Form
Project Proposal Form
Elementary Level Project Proposal
It is important for the adult to allow the student to have control and ownership of the project. Therefore parents and or teachers are expected to modify this outline to make it age appropriate for elementary students.
A possible approach might be for beginners to answer the following:
- What would I like to know?
- What can I do to find out?
A written project proposal must be completed with an adult supervisor before experimentation begins. The following outline is provided to guide the adult supervisor/mentor as a guide to develop a quality elementary project proposal.
The project should be given a temporary title which points to the target or focus of the project. (This may change after the project is completed)
Clearly state the following:
- Say why you would like to do this project.
- Clearly say what would you like to learn from this project. (Connect this to what you have learned from reading books, magazines, watching TV and talking with others.)
- State either a question or design to be explored.
Method and Materials:
- State how you propose to find out the answer to your question or explore the design.)
-List the materials you will need to do your investigation
(The adult supervisor will help to collect and list the things needed to do the project.)
Conclusion and Discussion (What I found out):
Clearly state how the results of your experiment will be used to provide answers to questions you have asked.
This requires you to say either what you learned if things turned out as you predict or what you think caused them to be different, from what you predict. State what you might change to improve the method if it is necessary to redo the experiment.
Tell about every day things you think work on the ideas you've learned from your project
Elementary Project Proposal Form^
The Senior Project Proposal
A written project proposal must be completed and reviewed by an adult supervisor before experimentation begins. Use the following outline to develop a quality project proposal.
The project should be given a temporary title which shows the focus of the project.
Clearly state the following:
- purpose of the project
- the question or problem investigated (Reference this to what you have learned from reading books, magazines, scientific publications and talking with resource people.)
- either a hypothesis or technology/design to be developed
Method and Materials:
- methods must be clearly stated with the detail of investigation and/or development procedures to be used.
- indicate at least two major sources of your library background research (Science journal, articles, books . . .)
-If you plan to use animals or humans give an additional source of a relevant reference.
This requires you to say either what you expect to learn if things turn out as you predict or what.you would do for further investigation if they don't. Clearly state how the results of your experiment will be used to provide answers to questions you have posed of solutions to a problem you have outlined.
Describe as many applications as possible. Be innovative and creative. This section should excite the imagination with possibilities.
Senior Project Proposal Form
The Adult Supervisor Form
Teachers who assign projects are expected to review a project proposal before experimenting begins. If the project is developed outside the school it is also important to have a qualified adult supervisor who will be responsible for verifying that safe and ethical research plans are made and followed. The adult supervisor may be a teacher , parent, university professor, or a scientist with whom the student is working. This person is expected to have close personal contact when experiments are conducted. (Under no conditions are students to perform experiments where they are personally responsible for the discomfort, harm or death of a vertebrate.)
The adult supervisor is ultimately responsible not only for the health and safety of the student conducting the research , but also for humans and animals, if used as subjects. They must be qualified for the supervision of the experiment before research begins. The supervising adult accepts responsibility for the safe and ethical treatment of the project. If they are not qualified for overseeing an aspect of the research they must take responsibility for seeing the student finds a Qualified Professional familiar with the regulations that govern safety and ethical issues as they apply to a specific project. The student researcher(s) will collect the data. All students involved must be listed, even if assisting the principal investigators.
The following checklist is intended to guide students in completing forms and making contacts which will point to the support needed to carry out their research safely and ethically.
Safety Assessment Form
Click on the areas which apply and download and/or print a hard copy of the guiding information and forms necessary for qualifying projects in this area. We recognise that most projects will not involve the following hazards; however, please follow the proper guidelines as indicated below, where appropriate.
Humans (requires prior SRC approval and forms for Human Subjects form 4A and form1.3 )
Nonhuman Vertebrate Animals (requires prior SRC approval and forms for Animals form and form1.3 )
Recombinant DNA (requires prior SRC approval and form1.3 )
Pathogens (requires prior SRC approval and form1.3 )
Controlled Substances (requires prior SRC approval and form1.3 )
Human/Animal Tissue (requires SRC approval and Tissue form and form1.3 )
Hazardous Substances or Devices ( requires a qualified professional supervisor form1.3 )
Qualified Professional Form
Qualified Professionals are required for those projects where the adult supervisor is not familiar with regulations that govern safety and ethics issues as they apply to a specific project. You may find a qualified professional on the web. They may be located anywhere geographically if you have web access to meet with them in a Sfiden chat room. Meet together with your adult supervisor and the qualified professional to work out safety and ethics concerns as they apply to your project.
Make sure you have clearly completed a project proposal in advance of contacting a qualified professional. This will help you to clearly articulate the nature of the project and among other things discover its potential safety and/or ethics issues.
SRC: Safety Review Committee (It is important to meet the safety requirements of the fair(s) you wish to participate in before the work is started.)
Attachment SRC for hypertext)
IRB: Institutional Review Board (Institutions have safety and ethics review boards. These review work under the responsibility and control of the organisation before the work is started.)
For the International Science and Engineering Fair regulations regarding safety and ethics follow ISEF .