Frequently Asked Questions - NWSES Rules

The NWSES Rulebook explains the rules governing student research. More information is available from ISEF website. All high school projects must follow these rules.

Middle school projects are eligible to use the NWSES Middle School Rules.

For more:

NWSES Rulebook

Students whose research involves human subjects, including administering surveys or questionnaires, must have their projects approved by an IRB before beginning experimentation. An IRB consists of 3 or more members with certain qualifications. There are many rules and guidelines for projects with human subjects.

An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee that, according to federal law, must evaluate the potential physical or psychological risk of research involving human subjects. All proposed human research must be reviewed and approved by an IRB before experimentation begins. This includes any surveys or questionnaires to be used in a project. If a project involves human subjects, the student must submit his or her plans to an IRB and fill out additional forms. BEFORE BEGINNING EXPERIMENTATION READ THE RULES.

A Scientific Review Committee (SRC) reviews and approves research projects. An SRC examines projects for the following:

  • Type and amount of supervision
  • Use of accepted research techniques
  • Completed forms and signatures
  • Compliance with rules and laws governing human and animals research
  • Appropriate use of recombinant DNA, pathogenic organisms, tissues and controlled substances.

An SRC consists of 3 or more members with certain qualifications.

All projects submitted to NWSE will be reviewed by the NWSE SRC. This review will take place after experimentation and after your project's paperwork is received by the fair. Some projects require you to arrange for SRC approval before experimentation begins by forming your own local SRC.

Examples of SRC worksheets are in the Document Library.

High school students with projects involving non-human vertebrates, pathogenic agents, controlled substances, recombinant DNA, and/or human or animal tissue must be reviewed by an SRC before experimentation begins. Middle school projects not meeting the MS Super EZ guidelines for these project types also require SRC pre-approval.

NWSE is ONLY for EXPERIMENTAL research. Students need to pose a research question and gather the data to answer it. Students must also carefully follow the rules governing human and animal subjects, pathogenic agents, controlled substances, recombinant DNA, and human animal tissue. Certain projects are against the rules. See the ISEF rules for the most current information.

Library research projects are not allowed.

No, a parent or guardian must sign Form 1B unless the student is emancipated from his parents.

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