What Is Background Research for a Science Fair?

Background research informs the researcher who is carrying out the experiment and raises the chances of successfully completing the science fair project. Science fair rules often require the inclusion of background research that relates to the phenomenon or experiment in each project. Background research is an important component of the scientific process, which is why teachers require students to complete this step.

Students should start their background research efforts by reading about similar experiments performed in the past. Few student experiments are the first of their kind, so it behooves students to learn what results other researchers have found when performing similar experiments.

Students have a variety of media available to them for research. Most often, students begin with the relevant materials in their school library. Subsequent research may necessitate Internet searches or visits to science centers and university libraries. Interviewing working scientists is another option for conducting research.

Performing basic background research is important for students, but experts can often skip this step, as they are already well-educated about the subject matter. However, it is important for scientists to read any new research of the results of recent experiments so they can incorporate the lessons learned by other scientists.