STARR Research Grant Review Criteria

Only proposals from IJAS individual members or students of IJAS member schools will be considered for judging and awarding of funds. Proposals are judged on following criteria by a minimum of 4 judges.  The highest score a proposal can receive is 30 points.  No member of the Student Programs Committee shall review proposals from his or her own school district. 

Section 1—Introduction & Statement of Problem (0-8 points)

Research Question (max of 5 points)  Is the question one that can be answered through scientific investigation? Does the question describe the problem/research described in the proposal? Is there a testable hypothesis? Will the student learn about the process of science by completing this project?

Relevance (max of 3 points)  Does the student explain why the project is meaningful to them?  Does the student provide evidence of worth—that others will find the research valuable?  Does the student correctly identify an association between the project and science and/or society?  (Since this is at the pre-college level, research may not necessarily open new venues in science. What is important is that the reason for doing the research is legitimate and clearly stated).

Section 2—Literature Review (0-5 points)

Does the student demonstrate he/she is becoming knowledgeable about the topic? Did the student consult resources he/she is likely to have on hand at the school library/internet? Are there a variety of sources cited? Do the sources relate to the question to be investigated?  Do the student annotations provide a summary of the resource (middle school) and an explanation about how the resource contributed to the project (high school)?  Are the majority of sources primary (high school)?

Section 3—Proposed Procedure (0-10 points)

Data Collection (max of 5 points)  Does the procedure describe a sequential strategy for investigating the problem? Does the procedure clearly explain what data will be collected?   Does the procedure clearly explain any trials and controls?  Is the procedure likely to lead to an answer or deeper understanding of the question/problem? Note: The procedure may change as the research progresses withoutendangering awarded grant funding. If you have suggestions for improving the procedure, please provide them!

Data Analysis (max of 5 points)  Does the procedure clearly explain how the data will be organized and analyzed?  Does the procedure include an explanation about how the student intends to evaluate if the data supports the hypothesis?

Section 4—Budget (0-4 points)

Are all necessary items described in the procedure accounted for in the budget? Does the budget distinguish between items available at the school, items requested through the grant, and other items? Does the budget include a specific funding request to the Academy?

Cover Sheet and Overall (0-3 points)

Proposal Format—Does the format follow the proposal guidelines? Is the proposal 4 or fewer pages in length? Does the title page include all the necessary parts? Are all sections complete? Have guidelines of good writing been followed; spelling, punctuation, etc.

Late proposals, proposals which ask for more than $200, proposals which violate local or federal law(s) and proposals requiring documentation of safety precautions which do not include the appropriate documentation will not be funded.

Each reviewer will give the proposal a score and comments. A composite score shall be created for each proposal by averaging the proposal scores. The Student Programs Committee shall award funds based upon the composite scores and funding available. Written comments of the reviewers will be combined and forwarded to each applicant. Starr Student Research Grant Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the example proposal elements in this handbook.