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Scientific Method

2. Research
The second stage involves research. Once you've decided on the question or problem to solve, you should then perform thorough research using textbooks, encyclopedias, scientific journals and periodicals, not forgetting that another great place to look would be the internet. Your research, is to ensure that you understand the scientific principles that affect your science project, and that you benefit from the experience, including the mistakes, of other scientists.
What's the purpose of performing research? Simply put, your research will help you design your science project experiment. The judges at your science fair would also need to know whether you understand why your experiment behaves the way it does.

It is important that you make sure that your research is thorough, unbiased, up-to-date, and has credible sources. Also, you need to try to make sure that your research is not too narrow, nor too broad.

In the example of the sunscreen lotion, our question was :

"Do sunscreen lotions with a higher SPF rating offer better protection?"

For this, our research should be focused on the definition of SPF, whether it is a universally accepted standard used by all sunscreen manufacturers, who awards this SPF rating and what the rating process entails. We would also need to understand what are ultraviolet rays, their harmful effects on the human body, where these rays originate from, and how they are measured. When searching the internet or publications databases, we would use keywords such as "sunscreen protection factor" and "ultraviolet radiation". There's no need to go into too much detail. For example, for this particular science project, you won't need to know what sort of moisturizer or fragrance is used in sunscreen lotions.
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