Paper & Presentation Guidelines


The organization of the final eight (8) sessions at the National JSHS is based upon a review of all abstracts and the area of research suggested by the student.  Student presenters must state on the abstract the major discipline and the sub-discipline of their research.  The seven major disciplines in which military-sponsored scholarship awards may be made are:

  • Environmental Science (Bioremediation, Ecosystems management, Environmental engineering, Land Resource Management, Pollution, toxicity; impact upon ecosystem)
  • Biomedical Sciences; Molecular/cellular (Biomedical medicine, Microbiology, Molecular/cellular, Genetics, Immunology, Pharmacology, Virology)
  • Life Sciences (Developmental Biology, Plant Physiology, Population Genetics, General Biochemistry, Microbiology)
  • Medicine & Health/Behavioral sciences (Behavioral sciences, Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Disease Diagnosis and Treatment, Epidemiology, Immunology, Neuroscience, Physiology, Pathology)
  • Engineering and Technology (Aerospace, Aerodynamics, Electrical Engineering, Energy – Solar, Vehicle Development, Devices, Mechanical Engineering, Robotics)
  • Math and Computer Science, Computer Engineering (Probability and Statistics, Math, Computer Science – Algorithms, Databases, Networking, Computer Engineering)
  • Physical sciences, including Physics, Astronomy, Internet of Things (Astronomy, Physics-theoretical, Physics-Solid state, Acoustics, Optics, Thermodynamics, Particle physics, Quantum physics, Nuclear); Internet of things–network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity
  • Chemistry, including physical chemistry, materials science, alternative fuels, geochemistry Physical Chemistry, Materials, Alternative Fuels, Organic Chemistry (possibly in life science), Chemical Engineering, Earth Science–Geochemistry, Energy–Alternative Fuels, Material Science)


A good abstract is written to summarize the research paper.  The abstract should accurately convey the essential nature of the research conducted and the most significant conclusions researched.  A further purpose of the abstract is to attract the interest and curiosity of the non-specialist reader and thus encourage exchange, discussion, and elaboration between various authors and between authors and readers.

  • The abstract should be a maximum of 200 words
  • The format for the abstract includes 1 inch margins, keyed in 10 or 12 point font (Times or Times New Roman).
  • The header preceding the abstract text includes:
    • Title of the research
    • Your name
    • Name of your high school, high school city, and state
    • Name of your teacher/sponsor/mentor and his or her organization. Precede the person’s name with a subheading (i.e. teacher, mentor, sponsor:)
    • Include one line of space between the heading and the body of the abstract


  • The paper should be a minimum of 6 pages and a maximum of 20 pages, including appendices.
  • Photography, graphs, tables, diagrams, charts, or other graphic representation
    presented in the paper must be simply presented and comply with the maximum file size
    limit of 1.8 Mb.
  • Graphs, tables, diagrams, charters, or other graphic representation should be simple to allow the judges online access to the research paper.
  • A maximum size limit for the electronic research paper is 1.8 Mb.
  • A recommended outline for the research paper includes:
    • A title page, or cover page stating the student’s name, school address, and title of the research;
    • Acknowledgement of major assistance received;
    • Table of contents;
    • If applicable, statement that “research involving non-human vertebrates or human subjects was conducted under the supervision of an experienced teacher or researcher and followed state and federal regulatory guidance applicable to the human and ethical conduct of such research”;
    • Introduction;
    • Materials and methods;
    • Results (data or findings);
    • Discussion and conclusions;
    • References, or literature cited;
    • And appendices (if necessary).


The research presentation may not exceed 12 minutes, followed by a maximum 6-minute question period.  The procedure for maintaining the time includes a 10-minute signal for the student, and finally a 12-minute signal.  At the 12-minute point, the student speaker must stop the presentation even if he or she has not finished.  Following the presentation, the judges will ask questions.

Regional and National judges evaluate students’ presentations using the below criteria. National judges rank each of the presentations based on the criteria and using a scale from 1 to 5. The scores are tallied for each presenter and used as the basis for discussion among judging team members where each criterion is considered.

  • Statement and identification of research problem
  • Scientific thought, creativity/innovation, appropriate duration
  • Research or engineering design and procedures
  • Logical conclusion relevant to the research problem. What was learned? Did student
    recognize contribution to the field?
  • Skill in communicating results
  • References stated


Remember, you are the expert. No one in the audience knows as much about your research investigation as you. Therefore, remember to explain your research in enough detail so the audience will understand what you did, how you did it, and what you learned.

Whenever possible, avoid jargon or unnecessary terminology. If it is essential to use specialized terms, remember to explain the specialized term briefly. Give your audience enough time to understand what you are trying to convey.

Graphs, tables and other representation help explain your results. Keep them simple and uncluttered. Focus on important information; for example, remember to name the variables on both axes of a graph, and state the significance of the position and shape of the graph line.

Deliver your presentation at a comfortable pace. It helps to practice your presentation before a non-specialized audience. Practice will help perfect the presentation and the timing. Do listen to the advice of your non-specialized audience but also get help from a teacher or other advisors as needed.