The Virtual Science Fair:

Motivational Effects of Publishing Student Research on the

World Wide Web


Louis David Garcia

Master of Arts in Education

Computers in Instruction



Are there motivational benefits of publishing student research on the World Wide Web? A study of the behavior of thirty-two junior and senior high school physics students as they researched the Internet, conducted experiments and published their findings on the World Wide Web sought to confirm popular theory that a wider audience through publishing on the Internet may make their work more meaningful. The students' point of view on their feelings and attitudes toward their research was ascertained through the triangulation of questionnaires, observations and interviews, journal writing and the evaluation of the quality of the students' work. The data yielded results which were consistent with the literature. It was noted that students who participated in the Virtual Science Fair exhibited more effort, engaged in a greater degree of voluntary cooperative work, spent more time on their projects, and produced projects of higher quality than students engaged in the traditional science fair. The researcher believes this is due to the motivational effect of a wider audience as discussed in the literature review. Implications of the importance of training teachers in the use of educational technology as well as the teacher's role in inspiring students were made. An extensive appendix includes examples of the students' projects and a guide to science fairs and the publishing of student work on the World Wide Web.


Full Text of the Thesis


Chapter 1: Rational (includes source links)



What is a Science Fair?

Understanding the Internet

Chapter 2: Literature Review (includes source links)

Why have a Science Fair?

Publishing on the Internet

Related Studies

Marriage of Science Fair and Internet Publishing


Chapter 3: Research Design


Role of the Researcher


Data Analysis

Chapter 4: Results


The Students' Point of View

Results of the Student Profiles

Chapter 5: Conclusions

Validity of the Methodology

Inferences from Research

Limitations, Recommendations, Implications and Summary


Appendix A: Instruments for Data Collection

Appendix B: Example Student Profile

Appendix C (and D): Example Student Projects

Appendix E: Illustrations

Appendix F: Results of the Innovations Virtual Science Fair

Appendix G: Procedures for the Computer Lab

Appendix H: Science Fair Rules and Forms