Submission Guidelines

Research Papers

The deadline for applying to the Missouri Junior Science and Engineering for Humanity Symposium is December 20, 2015. Final research papers must be received by February 12, 2016.

General Considerations:  Effective reporting of a research project is an important phase of the scientific endeavor. The paper should be an accurate presentation of an original research project conducted by the student. Generally projects must:

  • Define a problem
  • Provide background information from teachers, engineers, technicians, physicians, scientists, and others in the community as well as scientific journals and books
  • Design an experimental approach to solve the problem
  • Conduct controlled field or laboratory investigations
  • Draw appropriate conclusions and prepare a written report, presented in an organized and logical manner, revealing all aspects of the investigation.

Research involving non-human vertebrates or human subjects must be conducted under the supervision of an experienced teacher or researcher and follow state and federal regulatory guidance applicable to the humane and ethical conduct of such research.  This must be acknowledged in the student’s written report.

Format:  Submitted papers should be a minimum of 5-6 pages and a maximum of 20 pages. A certain amount of leniency is given on paper length, but no exceptions are allowed in the oral presentation’s 12-minute time limit.

Each paper must include:

  • A cover page stating the title, student’s name , school address and broad category of investigation
  • Acknowledgment page
  • Abstract, (a brief review of the paper, 200 words or less)
  • Table of contents
  • If applicable, the following statement:  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 humane and ethical conduct of such research.
  • Introduction
  • Materials and methods
  • Results (data or findings)
  • Discussion and conclusions
  • References or literature citations
  • Appendices, if necessary

Paper Submission Procedures

All research papers must be submitted electronically in pdf format if possible.  Write your Last Name and School name in the subject line and email to jsehs@maryville.edu

Special Note:  The National JSHS program restricts the use of photography in the electronic version of paper submissions; photography may be used in an oral presentation.  The Missouri symposium will allow photography, but students progressing to the National level should be aware of this restriction.  The rationale is based upon a maximum file size limit of 1.8 mB.  Exceptions can be made if the file size does not exceed that limit. Students are encouraged to use graphs or other (non-photographic) methods to report their results.  Students are advised to consult with their mentor if they are unsure of how to best display their results.

Please note: All submissions will be reviewed by judges for each category. The top papers in each category will be selected for a formal, oral presentation.  Papers are divided into the following categories:

  • Behavioral Science
  • Biology/Microbiology
  • Chemistry/Biochemistry
  • Environmental
  • General Biology
  • Physics/Engineering/Computer Science

Team Projects:  Students may work as a team; however each student should be responsible for and represent their individual contribution. Should a team project advance to the national competition, a team leader should be decided before arriving at the regional program.  Scholarship awards may not be divided among or between students.  Additionally, should a team presenter be unable to present at the National level, the opportunity will pass to the second place presenter in that category.

Judging Criteria:  
Research papers will be judged on the following 5 areas:

  • Scientific Thought
  • Development of Project
  • Experimental Process
  • Analytical Approach
  • Communication Skills

View a judge’s sheet.

Poster Guidelines

Purpose of a Poster Session

Poster sessions are opportunities for authors to visually display and briefly discuss their research. The audience will consist of viewers who will pass by and expect to quickly understand what was done and why it matters. Many viewers will stop to discuss the research and results. Authors should be prepared to answer questions and engage in short discussions with their visitors. The clear, attractive poster will draw more people to your table but creating a good poster takes time. Too much information, too many graphics and the viewer can become confused. To create a focused, visually appealing poster, please follow the guidelines below.

Who can submit a poster?

The Missouri Regional JSEHS will allow any student who has performed a research project and prepared a poster, to participate in this session.  If you have been selected to formally present your paper, you may still choose to display a poster.  Please indicate on your application if you plan to participate.

Five Essential Questions Each Poster Should Address

  1. What is the problem being explored?
  2. What is the current knowledge regarding this problem?
  3. Why does your research matter?
  4. What happened in your study?
  5. What can you conclude from your work/ or what does this mean for the future?

Guidelines for Poster Preparation

  • All posters must provide an abstract.  Abstracts may be no longer than 300 words and must include information on both, a) Background/ Questions/ Methods and b) Results/ Conclusions.

Guidelines for Poster Presentation Session

  • Presenting authors must stay for the scheduled period when their poster is being displayed.
  • The Missouri Region accepts free-standing trifold poster displays (preferred) as well as large poster printouts mounted on poster boards. These mounting boards and pushpins will be provided. Students must arrive with their printed materials.
  • Please indicate (checkbox) on your Student Application which format (Trifold or Poster Board) you will use for your poster presentation.
  • Poster presenters may not use audio-visual equipment but are welcome to bring along handouts associated with their presentation.
  • If you chose “poster boards’ for your display option on the Student Application, please note, maximum dimensions of poster boards are 4’x4’

Suggested Sample of a Poster Layout


The title of the poster should quickly orient the audience. It should include the title of the work, the authors’ names and the institutional affiliations.

  • Make the title the most prominent block of text on the poster—either center or left justify at the top.
  • The title banner should be readable from 15-20 feet away.
  • Do not typeset the title in all capital letters—such text is difficult to read.
  • Use small words such as: of, from, with, to, the, a, an, or and to separate details in the title.


Specific sections should be easy to locate on the poster. Once readers recognize what the work is, they decide how much energy to invest into the poster. One good test is whether the audience recognizes the subject and purpose within 20 seconds of seeing the poster. Usually a poster accomplishes this goal with a well-crafted title and supporting images. The type should be large enough to be easily read with enough contrast between the color of the type and the poster’s background. (Black text is ideal, font 16-30 pt., headings should have larger fonts.) Use a colored background to unify the poster.

Section Layout

  • Background/purpose (states research problem and should quickly address the subject matter)
  • Methods (description of the approach)
  • Arrange the material into columns
  • Data/Results (summary of findings, if unique state so)
  • Conclusions and implications for the future

Keep in Mind

  • Design individual sections so that they can be quickly read (use numbers or bullets).
  • Use text sparingly. A poster should not contain large blocks of text or long sentences. Limit text to between 500 and 1500 words.
  • Whenever possible, use images such as photographs, drawings and graphs to explain what happened.
  • Keep focused, strive for clarity. A congested poster with too much information can confuse your audience. Blank space makes the poster seem less complicated and more approachable. Use it to create a more organized appearance.
  • Select a dark color (black/blue) for main text, select red for important text, use fill color for identifying group, or entire element, or use one color to indicate importance of your headings.
  • Use up to but no more than 3 different fonts for best visual appeal.

The National JSHS poster guidelines are available and useful in case you advance to that level.

Useful Examples