There are seven steps to an investigatory project: ask a question, conduct the research, form a hypothesis, design an experiment, analyze the results, draw a conclusion and communicate the results. The steps to an investigatory project are often referred to as the scientific method.
The first three steps prepare the researcher for the experiment. Finding and researching a topic that can be measured is often the hardest part of the project. Start by finding an interesting subject, and ask "how, what, when, who, which, why or where." This helps develop a question and hypothesis and aids in establishing the direction the research should take.
The experiment should be conducted several times before any conclusions are formed. This ensures the results are valid. Additionally, it is crucial to document each small change that is made while everything else stays the same. This keeps the experiment fair.
The analysis should support the hypothesis and answer the question. If the result does not do these two things, researchers must begin the process again. It is only after the hypothesis and the question are supported by the analysis that a conclusion can be drawn. The results of the experiment are communicated through a report or visual display to share with others.