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(I'm sure you have other things you'd like to do, too!) For a good example of how the question word table can generate irrelevant questions, let's just look at some possible questions if we fill out the table for another one of our sample keywords: milk.
Background research is necessary so that you know how to design and understand your experiment.
To make a background research plan — a roadmap of the research questions you need to answer — follow these steps: So that you can design an experiment, you need to research what techniques and equipment might be best for investigating your topic.
If we research every one of those questions we'll be studying farms, cows, cow udders, baby cows, and what cows eat. That information is definitely irrelevant to our science fair project question: Does drinking milk help decrease spiciness better than water or Pepsi?
Nearly every applicant for a tenure-track faculty job is expected to include a research plan. Just as rare are programs designed to help doctoral students and postdocs learn how to create a research plan.
And if you've already started to think about your own lab, it will help you to refine your plans.
So take a stab at writing a research plan, even if you don't expect to be on the job market for a while. In that case what matters is, what is the committee looking for? Hiring committees desperately want to avoid making a serious mistake by investing institutional and intellectual capital in the wrong person.
Your research plan is a map for your career as a research science professional.
As will become apparent later in this document, one of the functions of a research plan is to demonstrate your intellectual vision and aspirations. A research plan isn't just for demonstrating; it's also for honing and refining.
A scientist named Mike Kalish put it humorously like this: "A year in the lab can save you a day in the library." Background research is also important to help you understand the theory behind your experiment.
In other words, science fair judges like to see that you understand why your experiment turns out the way it does.