Choosing a Research Topic


Name _________________________________

Date __________________________________





















1.      Make a list here of questions that you would be interested in investigating using bioassay experiments. Try to ask questions that are relevant to environmental issues.

Example: Does chlorinated tap water kill Daphnia?


2. Of these questions, which seem the most important and interesting? Pick three:








3. For each of the three questions you have chosen, think of how you might design an experiment. Then fill out Table 1:


Table 1. Potential Questions


Brief description of an experiment you might do to address this question:

What equipment and supplies would you need?

How long would it take to carry out this project?

Would field work or travel to field sites be required?

Example Question:

Do Daphnia die in chlorinated tap water?

Place Daphnia in tap water samples from school and from home.

Beakers, tap water samples, Daphnia

1 period to set up beakers with Daphnia, a few minutes the next 2 days to count how many have died

We can collect tap water at home and bring it in to school.

Question 1:










Question 2:










Question 3:












4. Looking over Table 1, consider whether each project would be feasible for you to carry out. Are the equipment and supplies available? Do you have enough time? Will you be able to do whatever fieldwork is needed? Eliminate any questions that do not seem feasible based on logistics such as these.



Would this project be feasible?

Why or why not?

Example Project


Yes No


Uses supplies we have available + tap water we will bring in from home.


Project 1



Yes No



Project 2



Yes No



Project 3



Yes No



5. Choose a project you have decided is feasible and interesting, then continue on to the Interactive Research Planning Form #1 or #2.






NSTA. Cornell Scientific Inquiry Series.

For use with Assessing Toxic Risk, Section 3: Conducting Interactive Research