NOMINATION AND JUDGING INFORMATION
Who can be a nominator?
Nominators can include teachers; chief judges of regional science and technology fairs, CREST Assessors, Bright Sparks Judges or any other national competition with a focus on science and technology specifically for secondary school students. Up to five nominations can be made by teachers, programmes or competitions.Nomination Form | DVD Guidelines | Selection Panel | Judging Process | Ethics Approval | Plagiarism | Conflicts of Interest | Disagreements, Enquiries and Protests
Realise the Dream Nomination Form
Click on the links below to download guidelines for writing a report for:an electronics software projects
a technology project
a science project
Nominated Student Form
Your nomination needs to include. (Please send all of this in electronic form if possible)
- A url link on youtube to the 5 minute film of the student talking about their research. This can also be in the format of an interview between the Chief Judge and the student. (the student needs to upload this to youtube and make it private so that only with those with the url address are able to view it)
- Up to 10 pages (maximum) of relevant research material (see guidelines for students writing reports.) Photos and graphs, raw data, log book material, programming code; chip specifications) can be attached to the report separately as appendices.
- 500 word Executive Summary of project (this is separate to the 10 page report.)
- 1 copy of student information form. (download link above)
If you wish to send in your material online then you are welcome to do so. Please send all material to Debbie.email@example.com
All nominations must be received by Debbie Woodhall, Royal Society of New Zealand, PO Box 598, 4 Halswell Street, Wellington or Debbie.firstname.lastname@example.org by 6 October 2014.
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Exemplars of how to complete the nomination form:We have included a couple of examples that the Realise the Dream judging panel feel have been completed to a good standard by the nominator and may help you in completing your nomination form. The nominators comments are in red.
Exemplar Nomination Form 1
Exemplar Nomination Form 2
Exemplar Nomination Interviews
The DVD that is sent to the Realise the Dream selection panel needs to be of good quality. Arrange to film in quiet and well lit surroundings. There should be no background noise.
It is compulsory for the students to be involved in the DVD either by way of the nominator interviewing the student or the student presenting the whole of the DVD themselves.
It is important to provide information about why this project is regarded as being of an excellent standard. For example explain the methodology clearly including replicates, controls, data collected, interpretation, statistical methods and the significance of the results. If focusing on technological development, please explain clearly the basis of the work, the process the student went through, trialling, modifications and the significance of the resultant product or system. The student should also include what they have learnt from carrying out this research and what they could have possibly done better.
Be succinct in your description or interview; the DVD is to be no longer than 5 minutes.
Clearly show the strengths of the research and weaknesses if any
Include one copy of the DVD together with the paperwork required as part of the nomination process.
Some ideas of what could be included in the DVD.
- Explain why this project was initiated
- What is the existing knowledge already? Discuss results of other people's findings
- What is the purpose?
- Did you have a plan?
- Have you used appropriate equipment and materials to carry out your research?
- Have you verified your results?
- If you have used statistics have you used them effectively?
- A clear relationship is made between the discussion and research question/proposal
- That the results do answer the question
- Was the projects purpose achieved? If not, then why?
- What would be the next step?
- What have you learnt from this?
- What were some difficulties that you had to overcome?
- Has this project made a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge?
Every judge is very familiar with the Realise the Dream criteria outlined below, as well as the principles of scientific method, technology development, research practice, and ethical considerations. The judging panel includes representatives well experienced in the relevant aspects of the NCEA Framework as they affect the production of projects.
Most judges have significant direct judging experience in other national or regional science and technology fairs. Occasionally judges may be selected for other forms of expertise.
The Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) provides an organising official for Realise the Dream, who will attend the panel, to support its work. Furthermore, the relevant RSNZ Manager may attend at any time, and is available for consultation by the panel.
The panel is not open to the public or contributing organisations, except by invitation of RSNZ.
Projects selected for Realise the Dream represent excellence across many categories including:
- Science - including physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, astronomy, mathematics, psychology, environmental science ...
- Social Science - including history, geography, environmental issues .
- Engineering and Technology, including Biotechnology, Information and communication technology, Electronics and control technology, Food technology, Materials technology, Structures and/or Mechanisms
Below we list the criteria that will be used by the Realise the Dream selection panel. That panel will be able to apply the criteria only to the written material and DVDs presented by the students and their nominators. Exceptionally the selection panel may contact the nominator OR the student to help answer questions raised in the evaluation process. We strongly recommend that nominators and nominees take note of these criteria when preparing nominations.
The criteria are organised under five main headings.
- CONTEXT OF THE PROJECT
- DESIGN PROCESS
- EXECUTION OF DESIGN PROCESS
- SOUNDNESS OF INTERPRETATION
- APPLICATION OF RESULTS
In addition there is a set of criteria used that are common to all of the above five headings. Projects need to:
- Maintain an appropriate focus on the project's aims.
- Show an appropriate level of originality and ownership of the work by the student while acknowledging assistance received.
- Include appropriate consideration of the suitability/reliability of the methods, results and conclusions.
- Meet all ethical criteria (compulsory and moral).
1 CONTEXT OF PROJECT
- Explains why this project was initiated.
- Reviews existing knowledge (Literature reviews/what has been done or made before etc.)
- Has a clear statement of purpose/question to be addressed.
- Discusses results or outputs in the context of other people's findings in the same or closely related fields.
2 DESIGN PROCESS
There are three broad approaches to research work. Each of these approaches generally comprise of a number of steps as in the table below.
The selection panel will expect to see clear and appropriate use of the following steps within the project design.
|Experimental Research||Technology Development/Research||Research to increase knowledge for environmental or social systems (where controlled experiments are not possible)|
The research may include:
NB The selection panel and judges will need to be aware that some projects may use more than one of the approaches.
3 EXECUTION OF DESIGN PROCESS
- Follows the specified plan.
- Achieves an appropriate level of completeness.
- Includes appropriate choice of equipment and materials, and specifically addresses the reliability and accuracy of the instruments and tools used.
- Achieves the levels of accuracy and precision required to meet the project aim (this will include appropriate levels of replication and repeatability).
- Attempts to verify its results (e.g. conducts some further test experiments or practically tests prototype products).
- Indicates that any choices made to deviate from the plan were appropriate.
4 SOUNDNESS OF INTERPRETATION (of results/outputs/proposals)
- Understands the limitations of the experiments/data/process.
- Uses statistics effectively (including assessment of errors) where appropriate.
- Logical data processing steps are used to achieve an appropriate level of analysis.
- A clear relationship is made between the discussion and the research question/proposal.
- Alternative interpretations are considered.
- The results answer the question or address the projects purpose.
5 APPLICATION OF PROJECT
- Was the project's purpose achieved? If not, then why?
- What should be the next step(s) along this line of investigation/development - or perhaps is there a recommendation that this line of work should not be pursued?
- Any new directions that are suggested by the results? This may include spin-off discoveries.
- Wider implications - is there value in the results that goes beyond the original project's aims or context?
- Has the project made a significant contribution to advancement of knowledge - for the students involved or anyone else? This can include knowledge gained deliberately through for example testing an hypothesis, or unexpectedly through a chance observation.
Information about Ethics may be found at www.nzase.org.nz/ethics/
- Realise the Dream projects must meet commonly accepted ethical standards.
- Students must consider these before a project involving human or animal participants can be approved.
- Considering ethics is a very good learning experience for students.
- If you need ethics approval, you must apply for and obtain approval before you begin your investigation.
- Any activity in schools and early childhood centres in which a live animal [mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish (bony or cartilagineous), octopus, squid, crab (including half crab), lobster, crayfish (including freshwater crayfish), mammalian, avian or reptilian foetus in the last half of gestation or development, or marsupial pouched young as defined in the Animal Welfare Act 1999] is used for teaching or research requires ethical approval.
Information on the animal ethics, the definition of an animal within the Animal Welfare Act, guidelines, examples and application forms can be found at www.nzase.org.nz/ethics/
For guidelines for the use of Humans in experiments and research, please refer to the NZASE website www.nzase.org.nz/ethics/
These ethical practice guidelines are for students and teachers engaged in school research and other projects that involve people (other students, family, members of the community).
Human Ethics and Your Realise the Dream Project
Does your investigation involve yourself or other people in:
- tasting, touching or smelling different foods or other substances?
- taking any medicines, drugs or other substances?
- applying any substance to their bodies?
- undergoing any physical or medical tests?
- giving you any information of a personal, private of confidential nature?
- giving information that could identify them?
If it does then you must think about the safety of yourself and the participants involved.
What information do I need to give my research participants?
When you have asked people to participate in your research, you will have needed to tell them, in a language they can easily understand:
- the purpose of your research
- what will be required of them
- what risks or benefits there will be to them if they agree to work with you
- that they can withdraw from your research at any time
- if you are collecting information about people they should know beforehand whether or not the information can be linked to a particular person, what you will do with that information, who else will see it, and how you will dispose of your records when the project is over.
It is best to give this information to people in a written form and to give them a chance to think about it and to ask any questions, before they make any decisions.
What level of risk to research participants is reasonable?
Any research that involves bodily fluids or the ingesting of material (eg such as taking any kind of medication, ingesting substances, testing body tissue, saliva, skin scrapes, use of pain or deprivation of basic food or drink) should only be done under the guidance of a medical person.
Any project should only involve minimal risk ie any adverse effect should be very small, and the probability of that effect occurring should be low. For instance, if one is asking people for information, it should only be the sort of information it would be safe, easily volunteered and appropriate to ask in an ordinary conversation, or if you are asking people to exert themselves, physically it should only be to a level that that person might do in everyday life.
Who needs to give permission (or consent) for someone to participate in research?
A parent or guardian needs to give their permission for anybody under 16, as well as the young person agreeing. The parent or guardian needs to have all the information that you would give a research participant. You should have records of who has given consent and how it has been given whenever the research involves more than observation of individuals in their normal activities.
Realise the Dream is about encouraging good practice so you might like to consider these general ethical principles when planning your project
Respect for your participants
- People do not have to help you with your research and they do not have to give you a reason. If you are conducting a class survey it can’t be compulsory to participate.
- You need to understand the cultural and religious beliefs of your participants and make sure your research is not disrespectful or offensive
- All the data belongs to the respondents so it is nice to give them a summary of your final research finding at the end so they share in what you found out.
Minimise harm to the participants
- Harm can be things like pain, stress, fatigue, emotional distress, and embarrassment. Think about what you want to do in terms of the harm it could cause.
- You may need to alter your design to minimise the harm. For example if you are doing a fitness test and collecting weight data would you do this in public or test each person on their own?
Informed and Voluntary Consent
- Participants should give signed informed consent. You should keep these safely until the end of your project
- You must give them enough information about your project and testing you want to do for them to make a good decision.
- They must not feel pressured to participate in the project.
- It is best if the information given to them in advance of the research, in written form, so they have time to think about it.
- Participants can withdraw at any time without giving you a reason and you should return any data already collected unless they say you can keep it.
To avoid conflict of interest in such a situation, the judge involved is required to state their conflict of interest and take a purely observational role: answering direct questions about the project, but not offering opinion or influencing the decision or consensus, which is made by the other panel members.
- in most cases, the first approach is via an informal Enquiry to the RSNZ, usually by telephone call or by email. The RSNZ official and/or the Chief Judge will respond with an explanation, and the matter is usually resolved quickly through informal discussion by phone and email. If necessary other members of the judging panels may be included in the discussion.
- Should the affected party remain unsatisfied, then a formal Protest may be made, in writing, to the RSNZ. Such a protest must include the reasons for disagreeing with the judges' decision. The RSNZ will use an independent mediator to review the protest, hold discussions with both parties, and report, in writing, with recommendations. This process should be conducted as speedily as possible. A copy of the report should be made available to both parties. The independent mediator may be a past Chief Judge of Realise the Dream, of a contributing National event, of a Regional Science and Technology Science Fair, a senior academic or a RSNZ official with experience and demonstrated interest in secondary school level education.