Projects at the HSTE are grouped into three categories based on school grade:
- Junior – Grades 7 and 8
- Intermediate – Grades 9 and 10
- Senior – Grades 11 and 12
The judging of scientific thought constitutes 50 percent of the project evaluation and requires special attention. One important consideration is the three types of projects – experiments, innovations and studies. Please note that while the criteria for judging scientific thought varies slightly for each, the three types of project are equally eligible for awards at the HSTE.
Experiment: An experiment involves the undertaking of an investigation to test a scientific hypothesis by the experimental method. At least one independent variable is manipulated; other variables are controlled. The best experimental projects involve original experimental research in which most significant variables are identified and controlled, and in which the data analysis is thorough and complete.
Innovation: An innovation involves the development and evaluation of new devices, models, theorems, physical theories, techniques, or methods in technology, engineering, computing, natural science or social science. The best innovation projects either integrate several technologies, inventions or social/behavioural interventions or else they design and construct an innovative application that will have human and/or commercial benefit. Alternatively, the best innovations may unify two or more existing physical theories and make verifiable predictions.
Study: A study consists of the analysis of, and possibly collections of, data or facts using accepted methodologies from the natural, social, biological or health sciences. These include subjective studies involving human subjects, biology field studies, data mining, pattern recognition in physical data, etc. The best projects of this type correlate information from a variety of peer-reviewed publications and from systematic observations, and reveal significant new information or original solutions to problems. Quantitative studies should include appropriate analysis of some significant variable(s) using arithmetic, statistical or graphical methods. Qualitative and mixed methods studies should include a detailed description of the procedures and/or techniques applied to gather and/or analyze the data.