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Official Abstract and Bibliography Pages

West Virginia State Social Studies Fair


Each project must have a completed abstract using this format only.  An abstract may be handwritten or completed on a computer, but it must be on this form which will expand as you type. The abstract may only be two pages in length not including the bibliography. The bibliography page follows the abstract and it may be expanded as necessary. The bibliography must accompany the abstract.

Your Big Idea (Project Title):     First, determine your Big Idea - something that you know is important to everyone, that you want to learn more about, and investigate further.  Once you have decided on the Big Idea that you want to investigate, you will naturally ask questions about it.  The questions you ask will determine how much you will need to investigate.  These questions are called Essential Questions.  You will need to list your Essential Questions on your abstract and you will need to post them on your Display Board.

Essential Questions lead you to ask even more questions that help you decide the most important things that you need to know. 

Once you have decided on your Big Idea (Theme or Project Title) that you want to investigate and you have listed your Essential Questions that will help you come to a conclusion, you will need to conduct some research to find your answers.


Category:   List one of the nine Categories your Theme fits. Type:   Individual  or Small Group


Division:   _X_ I (grades 4-5) _____ II (grades 6-8) ____ III (grades 9-12)


1.   Tell why you chose to investigate this Big Idea: Explain in complete sentences why you choose to study and explore this topic.  Give as much information about why you are investigating this idea.


2.   State the essential questions that you asked (The important things you wanted to know about your Big Idea)   Explain in complete sentences in the form of questions what you want to investigate and explore.  Include your Essential Questions that will help you come to a conclusion.  You will conduct research to find answers to your essential questions to form your conclusion.


  3. List the research methods that you used (email, primary source documents such as letters, diaries, government papers, interviews, letter writing, travel, Internet, Podcasts, Wikis, etc.) In complete sentences list the places and way you researched for primary source documents and information.  Besides the Internet, read books, magazines, newspapers, letters, diaries, or other reference books.  Reference books might include textbooks, encyclodpedias or nonfiction library books.  You can also write letters, interview people, travel to places and take photographs.  Please include a variety of research methods and primary sources. 


4.   How did you validate your sources of information?     To show the validity of something  means that you must prove its truthfulness and accuracy.  This means that you will want to do some background research on your sources.  Write and/or explain in complete sentences the way you validated your sources of information.  Below are examples of Internet sites you may come across and how you might validate each type.


  • If you are using an Internet source and the site is a .com site and that usually means that it is a commercial site. In that case, you must investigate to see if the company has a solid reputation for stating correct information only.  If in doubt, do not use the information.

  • If an Internet site is a .gov site and that means that it is a government site. You can validate the information by reading to see what government agency posted the information, if it is federal, state, or local, and who is responsible for the information.

  • An .edu site means it is an educational institution.   Check to see what educational institution has posted the information and find out if it is a credible educational institution.

  • If in doubt, ask your parents or your teachers if you should rely on the information on the Internet site, the books, magazines, or newspaper articles you may have chosen.

  • If you are conducting an interview via email, telephone, or in person, find out the background of the person with whom you are speaking to be certain that they are relaying the most correct information that you can locate regarding your topic. Verify that the person or persons are the most credible sources for your information.

5.   Write a brief summary of your project. Before you can summarize your information, research, and findings, you must first analyze all of the facts you found.  Take everything apart and look for the details, the connections, the patterns, and the cause and effect issues, make comparisons and evaluate what you have discovered.  Then, pull everything together in a summary that explains briefly -- in just a few words -- what your projects is all about.  Make sure your summary is in complete sentences -- makes sense -- with correct grammar, capitalization, and punctuation.


6.   State your conclusion. From your research, what can you conclude about your Big Idea?  Look at the answers you have found for your Essential Questions and write down what you now know about you Big Idea.  Put it into a statement that makes sense and wraps up what you have learned.


7.   Suggest a way to change or improve the outcome, or make a future prediction about what you anticipate based on what you have learned. Find a Better Solution, Change the Outcome, or Make a Future Prediction.  Can you create a better solution to the problem?  How could you change the outcome?  What is your prediction for the future of this Big Idea you have been researching?  You will probably not have an answer for all three of these questions, depending on the Big Ideas you have been investigating. You must answer at least one of these question or your abstract will be considered incomplete by the judges.



Complete Your Bibliography on the Following Page

Bibliography Page


You must use a bibliographic format which includes the author, title, place of publication, publisher, and publication date.


You must write out your resources in the form of a bibliography.  Examples of a resource site has been provided below.  You should yse this free Internet site to be certain you are using the correct form.  An incorrect format could cost you points on the judges' score card.  Here are useful sites for bibliography formats that include audiovisuals, Internet, newspapers, CD-ROMs, encyclopedias, books, interviews, and magazines.

Time For Kids Homework Help 

Northeast State University Library

Research Guide for Students

Honolulu Hawaii Community College

Robert E. Kennedy Library

The Writing Center

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)


Creating Your Display

Now that your research and writing are finished, you will be concentrating your efforts to create a presentation which will communicate your findings and your own ideas to the judges.

You will need to refer to the Rules and Regulations for the West Virginia State Social Studies Fair link to find out about the different possibilities for presentation.

This year for the first time students are invited to use hand-held battery powered technology equipment to enhance their presentations.  Along with their electronic presentation, students must bring a printed copy of their work in a portfolio or notebook.


Good Luck with your research. See you at the Fair!