Monday, March 19, 2012

Abstract Review

The following is the annual ABSTRACT Explanation.  For photo references on how to display an abstract with the board please keep reading.

Ways the SSTFI asks for abstracts:
  1. Typed in the on-line registration for each project
  2. Submitted in hard copy with SRC paperwork
  3. Displayed vertically on the project (board or table) at the fair.
Why do we ask for the abstract in 3 different ways? (short answer)

  1.  The typed in version during on-line registration is used exclusively for judging purposes
  2. The hard copy submitted with SRC paperwork is used exclusively by the SRC in addition to the research plan to ensure they have a full understanding of the research.
  3. The abstract on the project at the fair is used by many people – judges, the general public, SSTFI staff.
The abstract tells the research story and is a VERY IMPORTANT component to the research project! 

The following are in depth answers to how we use them:

  1. Typed version during on-line registration
    • Many of our scholarship sponsors and special award sponsors request a copy of the project entry database 2 weeks prior to the fair to review.  They will be sent this Wednesday along with the floor layouts (some special award sponsors build their entire judging route/plan from this information)
    • They utilize titles, abstracts and the award categories selected on-line to narrow down their list of projects they want to meet with.
    • Our special award sponsors want to talk to as many students as possible; however, they also know they cannot talk to all 500 projects.  They want to ensure their focus is narrowed prior to judging at the fair.
    • This does NOT mean that they don’t take a look over the projects while at the fair.  During judging  orientation they are encouraged to at least walk around and note any projects on their lists they may have missed in the initial paper review.
    • That said they do truly appreciate having abstracts to review to help narrow the list slightly.  Sometimes a title alone cannot completely express what the research is about.
    • Our special award chair also is asked by other sponsors to put together lists for them before they arrive and she also uses titles, abstracts and the marked award categories.
    • In addition, we will print all of the abstracts and place them in a binder in the fair office for review if judges wish to review something further at the fair either before going out or to review after judging the projects.
    • We often receive press calls and this book is also used by us to give reporters an idea of what is out on the floor.  Granted often a catchy title will draw their eye but some also utilize the abstract info.
    • SENIOR HIGH – this is very important for senior high students and teachers to know.  The senior high judging committee merges the abstracts into their print function when pulling together and printing the judging forms.  Every senior high judging form has the abstract printed on the reverse side.  This abstract is directly pulled from the database.
    • How do the judges use these?  Saturday am before the students arrive during the judging review they review the forms and read abstracts either before or after reviewing the floor projects.  The first item they are instructed to read when reviewing the floor projects are the abstracts on the project.
    • During the final discussions judges also have the judging forms in front of them and an abstract can help refresh their memory regarding the projects being discussed for finalists.  This is just a help – in cases of serious discussion or argument the judges go back out on the floor.
    • The SSTFI does NOT make this field on the on-line registration a required field because we realize not all students have one completed at the time of registration.  At this time we also don’t have the ability functioned in for students or teachers to add this in after submission. 
    • If you send me an electronic copy that I can cut and paste I am able to update your project on-line entries.   I am happy to do this up to Monday, March 26th. (see below for further instructions) After the 26th the database will be locked down, cleaned one last time in order for participation certificates and judging forms to be printed.
  2. SRC Paperwork
    • The SRC sometimes needs information regarding the research that they can only find in the abstract.  The research plans give good insight but an abstract also provides valuable information.
    • If you did not submit a hard copy the SRC will list it as an SRC violation and you be asked to submit a copy to their booth at the fair.
  3. Vertically Displayed at the Project
    • This is often the first piece of information the judges on the floor look for.  The abstract can give valuable information as well as an overall view of the research.
    • Our Display and Safety Committee and the floor will be looking for these abstracts at the projects and will have a student type or write one if it is not there.
    • The abstract can give the general public a good idea of what a project is about.
    • The abstract does NOT have to be attached to the project board.  It is also allowable to have it vertically displayed on the project table.  Many people use picture/document frames or pamphlet holders when displaying the abstract on the table.
Example 1:  Abstract placed directly on the board.
Pros: Easy to see/find; good eye location for judges
Cons: Space can be at a premium on the board; not always room; often abstracts need modification and this can make it difficult to change


Example 2:  Abstract placed in a frame and set on table.
Pros: Easy to see/find; judges can pick it up to easily read; allows more space on board for other items; if the abstract is modified it is easy to change; protected
Cons: Cost of the frame; it is possible for it to accidently walk off (although very rare)


Example 3:  Abstract attached directly to table front (usually with tape or push pin)
Pros: Visible; leaves space open on board and on table; easy to change out if modifications are made; no cost for frame
Cons: Hard for judges/people to read without bending over; can be easy to accidently tear or fall off the edge


Although example 3 is not always the ideal for the abstract this is the best option for the other forms that should be vertically displayed (Form 1C and Form 7).

In summary:
  • Yes, we need it 3 different ways
  • Yes, we utilize each version very differently
  • Yes, the abstract is important
  • Yes, if you are exhibiting in Senior High competition it is in your best interest to submit an electronic copy

You have until Monday, March 26th, 2012 to e-mail me an abstract to update your on-line entry. 

PLEASE check your teacher list http://www.sciencefairofiowa.org/teachers/get-project-report.html to ensure the abstract wasn’t already entered before sending to me!

I will only accept these in some electronic version.  It can be in the body of the email, it can be an attachment (preferably Word or pdf).  The only thing I require is -- YOU MUST have the PROJECT ID listed in the e-mail and with the file or I will send it back to you.


For more information regarding the SSTFI please visit our website at www.sciencefairofiowa.org

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