Project Types

Read the Intel ISEF Rules and Guidelines before you start your project. 

As an Intel ISEF affiliated fair, the Synopsys Championship follows Intel ISEF Rules and has adapted the forms that appear on the ISEF web site. SCVSEFA web pages provide information about requirements and procedures that are specific to the Synopsys Championship. 


Find the type of project you are doing from the list below and review the minimum requirements for project acceptance. Make sure that the information described in the requirements list is included in your Research Plan attachment of your application.

Types of Science Fair Projects

Science Project: investigates the effects of changes or answers the question “Why?”.
Engineering Project: solves a need or problem, and includes measurements of success.
Product Testing Project:(grades 6-8 only) tests and compares similar items using measurable endpoints.
Demonstration Project: shows how something works [NOT accepted at the fair].
Human Participants Project: Projects where people are being studied.

IMPORTANT – ISEF changes for the 2018 fair include rules for human participants in invention, prototype, computer application and engineering/design projects.

Science Project minimum requirements

  1. Subject defines a testable question that begins Why… or What is effect of a change in X on Y? (for example, what is the effect of a change in the amount of sunlight on the growth of tomato plants).
  2. Bibliography includes references from your literature research.
  3. Hypothesis based on your library research and knowledge. It is your best estimate of what will happen.
  4. Experimental design
      • Define a control (a “standard” group) to which all test groups will be compared.
      • Define test groups where only one variable differs from the “control” group.
      • Define the measurable endpoint(s).
      • Each test group should contain a minimum of 3 objects being tested (seed, plant, rat, etc.).  A group size of at least 10 is required for projects with human participants.
      • Plan to change only one variable in each test cycle. However, change the variable in several ways (several concentrations of a chemical, several temperatures, or several time points etc.).
      • Report measurements in metric units when possible.
      • Repeat the test more than once to see if your results are reproducible.


Engineering Project minimum requirements

  1. Clearly define the problem or need the engineering project will solve.
  2. Include Bibliography from your literature research.
  3. List design criteria and design constraints
      • Physical and functional characteristics of the design (shape, weight, etc).
      • Design constraints/limitations (cost, time, available materials, etc).
  4. Clearly state success criteria. What will you measure to see if your design worked?
  5. Report measurements in metric units where possible.


Product Testing Project minimum requirements [Grades 6 8 only]

  1. Clearly identify what kind of item (soap, fabric, etc.) you plan to test.
  2. Define a test group of at least three similar items (Grades 6 and 7) or four similar items (Grade 8 ).
  3. Include test criteria that:
      • Define what will be measured.
      • Describe how you will take measurements.
      • Report measurements in metric units, when possible.
      • Define criteria for “the best” (cleanest, largest, coldest, etc).
      • Repeat the test more than once to see if your results are reproducible.


Demonstration Project that shows or explains how something works

Demonstration Projects are NOT accepted at the Synopsys Championship.   What interests you about your demonstration project?   Can you channel your interest into a Science, Engineering, or Product Testing Project? Ask your teacher for help.


Human Participants Projects

Details of the rules for projects with human participants projects are available from the Intel ISEF website.

Minimum quality guides involve having at least 10 human participants and having a quantifiable, measurable endpoint.  Projects usually need to specifically address issues of randomization of trials  (not mixing up treatments, or ignoring learning from participating previously ).  Many student applicants fail to fully complete the Human Subjects’ Detailed Research plan, or fail to include a complete sample test or sample Informed Consent Form for us to review.

Subjects may not be asked to ingest foods without proper medical supervision and/or as a reward for participation.