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Abstract Requirements

Your abstract (maximum of 250 words) may be incorporated within your poster or attached to your posted and should include the following information about your research project:

  1. What was studied?
  2. How was it studied?
  3. What were the results?
  4. An explanation of those results.
  • Your abstract should be clear and concise. Avoid abbreviations and jargon.
  • Do not put your name or school information in the body of the abstract. Do not include the title in the body of the abstract.

Tips for Writing the Abstract

Here are a few additional tips for writing and organizing an abstract: (Note: These are suggestions. Your teacher or mentor may have other guidelines for you to follow.)

  • Describe the purpose of the project. Use your hypothesis.

    Example: The purpose of this research is to determine if _____has an effect on _____.

  • Describe the methods used. Do not use first person.

    Example: Three experimental groups and one control group were set up. Each experimental group was exposed to different levels of light: 4 hours, 10 hours, and 24 hours. The control group had 12 hours of light. Leaf width and stem height were measured by _____ every other day for three weeks beginning on _____.

  • Describe the results. Be sure to cover all of your major results.

    Example: The experimental group with 4 hours of light grew the most, with 7 mm of leaf growth and 10 mm of stem growth. In contrast, the experimental group with 24 hours of light had the least amount of growth. Leaf size decreased by 2 mm, and stem height grew only 1 mm.

  • List the conclusions. Explain whether or not your hypothesis was supported. Give specific explanations for the results.

    Example: The hypothesis was supported because the plant with the most light grew the least. There may be several explanations for this, including _____.

Based on your research design, it may make more sense to include the explanation of your results with your actual results (i.e., present the results followed by an explanation of your results) before the conclusion. This is acceptable; however, make sure your explanation is clear.

Judging Information

Students are not required to have their poster judged; however, teachers should discuss this option with their students. When students presenting posters submit their online registration form, they must indicate if they wish to present their poster to a judge or not.

The poster judging process is as follows:

  • All posters will be on display in the main display area the morning of the Symposium. Students will be expected to stand at their poster during the majority of the morning session to share their poster with Symposium visitors, including ISU professors and students, high school students and teachers, and parents.
  • If a student would like to have their poster judged, the student must indicate this on their online registration form.
  • Each student that would like to have their poster judged will be assigned a 6-minute time slot and location to present to a single judge. Time and location information will be posted on the Symposium website several days before the event as well as available the morning of the event near the check-in desk. Ten minutes prior to the student’s assigned presentation time slot, the student will pick up and move their poster from the main display area to their assigned side room to present to and receive feedback from a single judge with expertise in the research category the poster was submitted (e.g., Animal Sciences, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, etc.). Judges will include ISU professors, staff, and graduate students.
  • In order for all students to present in a timely fashion, the 6-minute time limit will be strictly enforced by an official timekeeper.
  • Students will begin their presentation with a 2-3 minute oral summary of their research. This will be followed by 2-3 minutes of questions and comments from the judge. After a total of 6 minutes, the official timekeeper will announce that time has ended and the student will pick up and move their poster back to the main display area.
  • Judges will complete a 1-page judging form, which includes written comments and the student’s division rating (I, II, III, or IV).
  • At the conclusion of the Symposium, teachers may stop at the check-in desk to pick up their student’s judging forms. Alternately, the teacher may request that the forms be mailed to their school.