Although he or she will receive help and support from parents, teachers and perhaps even professional scientists, the student as Principle Investigator must take primary responsibility for envisioning and carrying out the project!
a considerable time commitment,
a willingness to think hard about the challenges the project presents
the dedication to see the project all the way through until it is presented to the judges.
Scientific investigations and research are carried out in order to learn about the world, and that learning is what science fair is all about. The process of the project is as important (if not more important) than the final product. While winning the competition is nice, that alone is not a good reason to get involved with science fair!
Students need to remember that the science fair judges are going to be just as concerned with the scientific process used in the project (and what the student scientist learned) as well as the end results.
To stay motivated, students should choose a project that interests them and is something that they are passionate about.
Projects shouldn't be picked because someone else has done it, because it looks like it is going to be easy to do, or because it is on the Internet.
It is also OK for several students to work on the same project if all share the interest.
The best Principle Investigators:
are interested in and excited about the selected project;
understand and are able to explain and use the scientific method;
take responsibility for creating and carry out the project with minimal help;
ask parents, teachers, and professional scientist questions when they have them;
can give an in-depth explanation of all parts of their project when presenting.