IRIS 2007 Tips
Important instructions from Dr Arnab Bhattacharya, Chairperson, IRIS panel of Judges
Congratulations on being selected for the IRIS-2007 National Fair! To help you with your project
presentation, the Scientific Review Committee would like to share with you some information which we
hope will ensure that you highlight the important aspects of your project, and also make the evaluation
process easier for both you as well as the judging team at IRIS 2007.
Do remember that judges will focus on 1) what YOU, the student or team did in the project; 2) how well
you followed the scientific methodologies; 3) the detail and accuracy of research as documented in the data
book; and 4) whether experimental procedures were used in the best possible way. We are always looking
out for innovative ideas, original work, well thought-out research and scientific/engineering skill.
At the IRIS national fair, your project display must be complete, and comprehensive such that, as far as
possible, it is possible for someone visiting your project to get a the total picture of the work done
WITHOUT YOUR PRESENCE. Please note that a part of the judging will be carried out in the absence of
participants, when the judges go through your project display as well as your logbook/original data etc. This
means that it is VITAL that your ORIGINAL DATA, WITHOUT MODIFICATIONS is available to be
viewed. Your results alone without the data to substantiate your work are not enough. Original laboratory
readings are never neat, and we do not expect them to be! Please do NOT “copy into fair” your data, or print
it neatly, it does not impress judges; on the contrary, it is counted against you!
Do make sure that your project display is such that it is readable from a comfortable distance (typically
1meter away). Make your title clear and easy to read. Avoid type styles that may be hard to read. Fonts that
have shadows or outlines may seem like a great idea but they are harder to read than simple lettering. The
title lettering should be at least 5cm high.(For those using computer based word-processors/presentation
software, a minimum font size of 20 is recommended). Do NOT display pages of text, but summarize the
important aspects of your project. Plotting relevant graphs, charts etc. can often be much more instructive
than showing huge tables of data.
An example of a good display and here’s a bad one!
From Janice VanCleave's Guide to the Best Science Fair Projects, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1997)
While organizing your display, please ensure that there is a sensible and easy progression through the
display so that the average person can easily understand it. While there is no one correct way to set up a
display, it must, however, make sense and be easy to follow. Remember that most people read from left to
right and from top to bottom. Design what the "center" of your display will be. This is where everyone will
look first. Group topics that go together like question, research, and hypothesis; materials and procedures;
analysis and conclusion. Make a small sketch of where everything will go and lay it out before you glue
anything down to make sure it looks good. (If needed, please number your panels for easy readability)
Do make sure that all items that are displayed are permissible as per the display guidelines in the IRIS
handbook. Basically, anything that is or could be hazardous to other participants or the public is prohibited
and cannot be displayed.
If your work involves working with human subjects, consent forms must have been obtained prior to
experimentation, and should be available in case needed. Similarly, any work involving living organisms,
human/animal tissues, DNA etc. must have the appropriate documentation if required.
Please especially ensure that the data presented has the correct number of significant digits and the proper
PRACTICE your presentation! Remember that most judges will spend only about 5-10 minutes with you,
where they would like to focus mostly on what you have done, rather than the background of the problem,
and have enough time to ask you questions and have a discussion. So do not come with a “memorized
speech”, with a long introduction, but be prepared to explain what you have done in your project in as short
or long as a time that may be available.
Some things that judges look for while going through a project:
1. Clearly defined objectives – what did you want to do, and how did you go about doing it? (Presenting
original ideas, Stating the problem clearly, Defining the variables and using controls, Relating background
reading to the problem)
2. Skill in performing the project – (knowledgeable about equipment used, Performing the experiments
with little or no assistance except as required for safety/special equipment/data collection, Demonstrating
the skills required to do all the work necessary to obtain the data reported)
3. Appropriate data collection – (using a log-book and journal to collect data and document research,
Repeating experiment to verify the results, Spending an appropriate amount of time to complete the project,
Having measurable results, appropriate control experiments etc.)
4. Correct data interpretation – (collecting enough data to make a conclusion, Using research to interpret
data collected, Using only data collected to make a conclusion, Using tables, graphs etc. to visualize the
5. Project Presentation (Written Materials, Interviews, Displays)
(Having a complete and comprehensive report, Answering questions accurately, Using the display during
oral presentation, Justifying conclusions on the basis of experimental data, Summarizing what was learned,
Presenting an attractive and interesting display)
We hope some of these tips will help you in making a good presentation at the National Fair. There are also
a lot of excellent on-line resources that discuss various aspects of science project data analysis and
We’re sure you’ll find the National Fair not only an intense scientific experience but also a lot of fun. See
you all in Delhi, and all the best!