How to Write a Problem Statement for a Science Project

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Science fair projects are common tasks assigned to school-age children throughout the world. The commonality across education systems in various countries in science fair projects is that they all rely on introducing the scientific method to children in the context of developing a research question or problem statement that is developed and answered through a controlled experiment. If your child or you has a science project assigned, the most important part of the project is writing a problem statement that identifies an independent variable that will be changed or manipulated through various dependent variables during the experiment.

Identify the subject that you are going to study for the science project if you are not explicitly assigned a topic by your instructor.

Develop a topic statement to answer during the experiment. This topic statement will be more specific that the general subject under study and will be used for developing your problem statement.

Identify the independent variable in the topic statement to use in your problem statement. The independent variable is the single factor that will be manipulated during the experiment through the application of controlled changes of dependent variables. If you find that there is more than one independent variable, you will want to redo the topic statement in order to properly scope the project to a single independent variable.

Write the problem statement in terms of a question. A sample problem statement might be, " How does the amount of sun light affect the height of new plants." In this example, the height of plants would be the dependent variable and the amount of sunlight would be the independent variable.

  • Keep your problem statement as simple as possible. It is not necessary to have more than one independent variable in your experiment.
  • Ensure the dependent variable(s) will have a measurable impact on your independent variable before undertaking the experiment.

Based in Memphis, Jackson Lewis has been writing on technology-related material for 10 years with a recent emphasis on golf and other sports. He has been freelance writing for Demand Media since 2008. Lewis holds a Master of Science in computer science from the United States Naval Postgraduate School.