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9-12 Graders

Texas Junior Science & Humanities Symposium

Texas high school students present their original research in a professional arena.

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Texas Junior Science & Humanities Symposium (TJSHS)

Requirements for Abstract
  • Abstracts may be no longer than one page, single spaced, 1-inch margins in typewritten form in 12-point Times New Roman font. It must be adequate in length but not exceed one page with proper font size and NORMAL font spacing. Please do not stretch text or add unnecessary spacing.
  • An electronic copy of the abstract should be submitted with on-line registration process.
  • The abstract should include student name, school name, sponsor name, research discipline and research project title ("Abstract" is NOT a title).
  • The file containing your abstract should be labeled as follows with your information:

Please follow these instructions. Remember that you will be pre-judged solely on the quality of your abstract - a good quality abstract is critical.

Guidelines for Abstract

Please read carefully before preparing your abstract! An abstract is a concise summary of the research. It is not merely a general description of what the research is about. It should be assumed that the reader is knowledgeable in the broad category of the topic, but not necessarily an expert in the specialty of the project. Scientists and engineers inform others of their research results by writing journal articles and by giving "papers" at meetings. Abstracts are prepared to serve either or both of the following purposes:

  • To enable a reader to decide whether this topic is of sufficient interest to warrant taking the time to read the entire paper or to go hear the presentation.
  • To acquaint a reader with recent research results without the need to read the entire article or hear the paper.

The following elements should be included in a proper abstract:

  1. The title should be brief and descriptive. The statement of the problem tells the reader what specific questions are addressed in the study. The variables and limitations are identified. The intent and objectives of the research effort are made explicit in this statement. The purpose states the usefulness of the study. It answers the question why the project was undertaken. The hypothesis is an educated guess that shows the relationship between a set of observed facts and a theory. The hypothesis limits the scope of the investigation and unifies the research design. The procedure provides a brief summary of what was done.
  2. The conclusions provide a concise statement of the outcomes of the investigation. They should be written in non-technical language and be related directly to the hypothesis. The conclusions should identify unsolved aspects of the original problem or any new problems identified.

There is no "standard" or required arrangement for the parts of an abstract; its statements may be in whatever sequence enables the most information to be conveyed in the fewest words. Its sequence can be, and frequently is, totally different from that of the paper. A good abstract usually must be drafted and redrafted — eliminating, adding, rearranging the words.

Helpful Hints on Abstract
  1. State results, conclusions, or findings in a clear, concise fashion. However, make sure that you describe your project adequately. You have a whole page - make sure you use it.
  2. Assume that the reader has a good general technical vocabulary but try to avoid use of highly-specialized words or abbreviations. Remember that he/she may not be an expert in the specialty of the paper.
  3. Use past tense and third person in describing completed research, present tense when stating existing facts and what is in the paper.
  4. Incorrect spelling and poor sentence structure will discourage interest in your project.
  5. If reference to procedure is essential, try to restrict it to identification of method or type of process employed.
  6. Financial sponsorship mentioned in the paper is concisely credited in the abstract: "Research supported by ......". Note: This is different from science fair rules.
  7. Have your sponsor(s) read your abstract to make sure it communicates well. This is the greatest difficulty most students seem to have. Remember selection of papers for presentation is based on your ABSTRACT!
  8. Use Abstract Guidelines to confirm that all parts of your abstract are present.

A good abstract is written to summarize the research paper. The abstract should accurately convey the essential nature of the research conducted and the most significant conclusions reached. A further purpose of the abstract is to attract the interest and curiosity of the non-specialist reader and thus encourage exchange, discussion and elaboration between various authors and between authors and readers.

Sample Abstract
  • Student Name:
  • Sponsor Name:
  • School Name:
  • Category:

Genetic Transformation of Sweet Potato

Sweet potato is considered the sixth most important food crop in the world and has high nutritional value for humans. However, pests, diseases, and environmental factors prevent the crop from reaching its maximum agricultural potential. Improvement of the sweet potato is highly limited by conventional breeding methods. Recombinant DNA technology offers a means for manipulation of the sweet potato genome to integrate valuable traits. Critical parameters of electroporation (voltage of current and digestion of cell wall) and particle bombardment (helium pressure and gold particle distribution) were examined for efficient DNA transfer.

Electroporation resulted in less damage and higher recovery of tissue after DNA delivery compared to particle bombardment. Transformed cells were identified with two marker genes: Beta-glucoronidase (GUS) and Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP). Cells expressing GFP were easily identified due to uniform protein distribution and allow the monitoring of the cell developmental pattern, unlike cells expressing the GUS gene.

Using the optimized conditions derived from the present study, sweet potato can be genetically improved for increased crop productivity and nutritional value.

Research Paper Guidelines

The research paper will be used during the judging process. All research paper presenters are required to submit a research paper. Students will submit your research paper by logging in to your account and uploading it the same way you submitted your abstract.

  • The research paper should be submitted in PDF format ONLY - no other format will be accepted! Keep a copy for yourself.
  • The file containing your paper should be labeled as follows with your information:
  • Use 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Papers must be double-spaced
  • The paper should be in APA Style student format. For help with APA, see the APA Guide and Purdue OWL .
  • Do not forget to include a cover sheet!
  • Paper length should be 10-20 pages. It may not exceed 20 pages, including cover, Statement on Outside Assistance, and Scientist Certification (if needed)! Pages over 20 will be removed and NOT given to the judges.
  • ALL papers MUST include a completed Statement on Outside Assistance

Your research paper will be part of your final score, as well as your presentation. Your judges will receive a copy of your paper prior to the competition. Please refer to the suggested format. The research paper WILL NOT be returned to you!

Parts of a good research paper
Cover Sheet

A cover sheet is REQUIRED for all papers. Cover Sheet MUST include your name, title of research paper, and school. Make sure your title matches the title submitted with your abstract.

Acknowledgment of Major Assistance

Include a statement on where and when the research was done and acknowledge those who assisted you with the study.

Table of Contents

List the topics and sub-topics in order and the page numbers on which they start. Add to the table of contents a list of all graphs, tables, and other representative figures. These should have a title and page number.


A number of items are included in this section. Keep in mind though, you are writing the introduction to provide background, details, or the setting of your specific research problem. Assume that the reader will be scientifically literate, but he or she may not be familiar with the details. First in the introduction, state the purpose of the research study. Secondly, state the hypotheses that you are testing. Describe what is already known about the research.

Materials, Methods, and Procedures

State the materials, methods, and procedures used to conduct the research in a step-by-step manner. This section should be written specifically enough to that the research could be replicated

Results (Data or Findings)

Present the results of your research findings in logical order. Use graphs, tables, and/or other representation. Tables and graphs should be numbered separately and include captions. Numbering will enable you to refer to them in text quite easily.

Even though you may present your results in a graphic form, you must explain in text the important features of each table, graph, etc. This is also the appropriate place to report the results of statistical analysis of your data. Remember to report the type of statistical test used.

Discussion and Conclusions

You interpret your results in this section. First, restate your hypotheses, and explain how your data either supported for rejected your initial research questions. Discuss your research findings in relationship to what is already known about the research problem (reported in the introduction section). Draw conclusions based upon your research findings (as reported in the results section). Your conclusions can include relevant, subjective observations or comments, but do state that these are speculations.

Acknowledge any limitations, which affect the research results. For example, what further experiments need to be performed? Statistical techniques used to manipulate the data may have limitations. Some of the treatment effect might have bee caused by a random, uncontrolled intervening variable. Again, acknowledge these limitations and other factors over which the researcher had not control, and state how these might have influenced the study outcomes.

Literature Cited

This is a list of citations for every article cited in your text. Endnotes are needed for all direct quotations and for all important statements of facts or opinions that are taken from written sources. Figures, dates, descriptions of situations, scientific data, opinion, representation and the like which are presented to advance the subject of the paper need a stated source. Check with your sponsor or other advisors if you need further advice about the format for endnotes.


In some cases, you may wish to include large tables of raw data in your report. You should include such items in an appendix at the very end of your research report. Label and paginate your appendices.

Statement on Outside Assistance

Statement on Outside Assistance
This is part of your 20 pages and should be the last page of your research paper.

Oral Presentation Guidelines

All paper presentations should be PowerPoint-type presentations. LCD projectors are supplied in each presentation room - presenters should provide their own laptop (avoid the use of MAC/APPLE laptops without proper connection/software to make them supported by the projectors).

Oral Presentations are 12 minutes. Oral presenters are allowed an additional 2 minutes for set-up of presentation and a maximum of 6 minutes for questions from the judges.

Presenters should provide their own connecting cord if MAC computer. Each MAC has a different cord for that particular style of MAC so we don’t keep them in inventory.


Your selection of a scientific category is a request to have your paper placed in that category. Final determination of the category to which your paper is assigned will take into account the number of requests made for each category and the appropriateness of those requests in matching research topics to the category. There are more categories listed than will be used; some of them will be combined after registration in order to have the final categories as similar in size as possible. Abstracts will be used to determine which papers will be presented; however, TJSHS officials will first make every effort to ensure that as many papers as possible are presented.

All decisions by officials regarding category placement of research papers for the TJSHS competition will be final.

  • Behavioral and Social Sciences Human and animal behavior, social and community relationships--psychology, sociology, anthropology, archaeology, ethology, ethnology, linguistics, learning, perception, urban problems, reading problems, public opinion surveys, educational testing, etc.
  • Biochemistry Chemistry of life processes--molecular biology, molecular genetics, enzymes, photosynthesis, blood chemistry, protein chemistry, food chemistry, hormones, etc.
  • Botany Study of plant life--agriculture, agronomy, horticulture, forestry, plant taxonomy, plant physiology, plant pathology, plant genetics, hydroponics, algae, etc.
  • Chemistry Study of nature and composition of matter and laws governing it--physical chemistry, organic chemistry (other than biochemistry), inorganic chemistry, materials, plastics, fuels, pesticides, metallurgy, soil chemistry, etc.
  • Computer Science Study and development of computer software, internet networking and communications, graphics (including human interface), simulations / virtual reality or computational science (including data structures, encryption, coding and information theory). (Note: Computer hardware engineering should be placed in the Engineering category)
  • Earth and Space Sciences Geology, mineralogy, physiography, oceanography, meteorology, climatology, astronomy, speleology, seismology, geography, etc.
  • Engineering - Energy The application of engineering principles and design concepts to problems involving the production, capture, storage, or use of energy.
  • Engineering - General The application of engineering principles and design concepts to problems other than those in which the production or use of energy is the end goal.
  • Environmental Science Study of pollution (air, water, and land) sources and their control; ecology.
  • Mathematics Development of formal logical systems or various numerical and algebraic computations, and the application of these principles--calculus, geometry, abstract algebra, number theory, statistics, complex analysis, probability.
  • Medicine and Health Study of diseases and health of humans and animals--dentistry, pharmacology, pathology, ophthalmology, nutrition, sanitation, pediatrics, dermatology, allergies, speech and hearing, etc.
  • Microbiology Biology of microorganisms--bacteriology, virology, protozoology, fungi, bacterial genetics, yeast, etc.
  • Physics Theories, principles, and laws governing energy and the effect of energy on matter--solid state, optics, acoustics, particle, nuclear, atomic, plasma, superconductivity, fluid and gas dynamics, thermodynamics, semiconductors, magnetism, quantum mechanics, biophysics, etc.
  • Zoology Study of animals--animal genetics, ornithology, ichthyology, herpetology, entomology, animal ecology, paleontology, cellular physiology, circadian rhythms, animal husbandry, cytology, \ histology, animal physiology, invertebrate neurophysiology, studies of invertebrates, etc.
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