Tier 3: Research Internship

Purpose of Course:

This course will serve as the Tier III course for the QUEST program at Canyon Crest Academy.  In this course students will apply knowledge and techniques to conduct research with a professional science mentor off campus.


CA State 9-12 Science
California Career Tech 

Course Description:

In this internship course, students work independently under the supervision of a professional science mentor and instructor.  Students will complete an original research project off campus. Students will have the opportunity to enter research competitions, including but not limited to Science Fair. This course is designed for students with an interest in pursuing a career in science.  Students are required to have a professional science mentor for enrollment.  CHECK OUT THE COURSE RESOURCES LINK AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE IN RED FOR REQUIREMENTS.

Course Profile

Learning Objectives: 

Select a General Area of Interest

  • Pursue background research on several potential general areas of interest
  •  Select one general area of interest
  •  Explain (in writing) why you selected the general area of interest

Research and Narrow the Topic

  • Pursue in-depth research in the area of interest--including primary, secondary, and tertiary sources
  • in scientific journals
  • Communicate with scientists working in this topic area
  • Discuss (in writing) the contributions that specific scientists have made to understanding this topic
  • Explain (in writing) the relevance/importance/potential applications of this topic

Develop a Research Question

  • Study additional background on your topic with a particular emphasis on primary resources
  • Identify a professional researcher who will serve as your mentor/supervising scientist
  • Arrange for a meeting between your instructor and your mentor scientist
  • Develop a written agreement with your mentor that clearly identifies agreed upon expectations for you and the mentor scientist (including district consent form, roles, responsibilities, time, and materials)
  • Develop a tentative and original research question
  • Discuss your research question with your instructor and mentor scientist
  • Select a research question that has potential for original research
  • Explain (in writing) the relevance/importance of your research question

Design a Research Hypothesis

  • Write a review of the literature for the your research project
  • Develop a tentative hypothesis or statement of purpose
  • Summarize (in writing) the reasoning and research that led to this hypothesis
  • Discuss your research hypothesis with your instructor and mentor scientist

Design a Research Plan

  • Draft a tentative research plan to test your hypothesis through experimentation (data collection) and analysis
  • Summarize your tentative research plan using a design matrix
  • Prepare a list of needed materials and resources
  • Determine the feasibility of the research, including time, materials, and cost
  • Describe (in writing) the proposed method or procedures for your project
  • Clearly indicate how you manipulate the independent variable,  measure the dependent variable, and control other potential variables
  • Determine that you have included sufficient numbers in both control and experimental groups to be statistically valid
  • Discuss your research plan with your instructor and mentor scientist
  • Develop a realistic timeline for each component of your research plan
  • Develop data tables for recording raw and derived data
  • Determine that your research plan meets the safety and ethical guidelines (for appropriate research involving human subjects, non-human vertebrate animals, pathogenic agents, controlled substances,
  • recombinant DNA, and human or non-human animal tissue)
  • Obtain Required Approval for the Research Plan
  • Review the information, rules, regulations and forms available at Science Service for the Intel
  • Talent Search (International Science and Engineering Fair Science Project)
  • Review information, rules, regulations and forms for entry into other science fairs or symposiums recommended by your teacher
  • Use ISEF Rules Wizard at http://www.sciserve/isef/students/wizard/index.asp to determine what forms and approvals are necessary before implementing your research plan
  • Arrange for a meeting between your instructor and your mentor scientist
  • Work with your instructor and mentor to complete the Greater San Diego Science Fair Proposal Form (and if needed animal, human, hazards and tissue forms)
  • Order or arrange for needed materials/equipment required for implementing your research plan
  • Conduct the Research Investigation
  • Maintain a Laboratory Project Data Book that includes detailed notes of each and every
  • experiment, measurement and observation (follow the guidelines provided by your teacher)
  • Have your instructor, mentor, or a designated adult sign each of the dated entries in your project
  • data book to provide evidence of your work
  • Implement a preliminary trial of the methods
  • Revise or refined the methods based on the preliminary trial
  • Discuss with your mentor or instructor potential techniques for statistically analyzing the data you plan to collect (if appropriate)
  • Submit any revisions of original research plan for instructor and mentor approval
  • Conduct your research following your proposed timeline
  • Periodically seek review of your research progress from your instructor and mentor
  • Prepare photographs to illustrate key methods, equipment, or results
  • Continue to do research to increase your understanding of other scientists' work related to your
  • research project

Data Analysis

  • Use computer spreadsheet software to enter your raw data into a spreadsheet
  • Select and used appropriate statistical analysis techniques/software to analyze your data
  • Use appropriate computer software to create data tables/charts to summarize/analyze your data
  • Prepare a written draft of the discussion/analysis of the data  (including patterns, relationships,
  • support/lack of support for hypothesis, and sources of error)
  • Obtain feedback this data discussion/analysis from your instructor and mentor

Write a Research Paper

  • Review the guidelines for writing a research paper provided by the Intel Talent Search at
  • www.sciserv.org or by your teacher
  • Write a 250-word abstract that includes the purpose of the experiment, procedures used, data,
  • conclusions, and possible research applications
  • Write a rough draft for each section of the research paper including title page and table of contents,
  • introduction, literature review, materials and methods, discussion, conclusion, acknowledgements,
  • references and bibliography.  (follow the guidelines provided by your teacher)
  • Evaluate your research paper and project using the "Criteria for Evaluation of Projects" from the Siemens Westinghouse Competition
  • Seek feedback on each section of your rough draft from your peers, instructor, and mentor
  • Use feedback and self-evaluation to make revisions to each section of the research paper
  • Prepare a final draft of your research paper
  • Prepare a 100-word easily understandable summary of your project in layperson's terms that includes background, procedures, conclusions, and relevance

Complete the Applications

  • Identify a science competition to enter (ie. Intel, Science Fair, Siemens)
  • Complete application for competition selected, pay special attention to deadlines.
  • Submit your application to your instructor and mentor for review
  • Refine your project as required for inclusion in other science research competitions Preparing a Visual Display
  • Review guidelines for creating an effective poster presentation (provided by your teacher)
  • Prepare a display that is organized, clear, concise, correctly presented, well-constructed, and eye-
  • catching.
  • Practice speaking freely and confidently about your display to demonstrate that you have a good grasp of your project
  • Present your display to classmates and engaged in discussion and answering questions related to your work
  • Complete peer reviews on visuals and presentations