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Data Sources

Data for this report come from a number of sources. The primary sources of information are surveys conducted by NSF's Division of Science Resources Studies. Other sources include surveys conducted by the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), by the Educational Testing Service, and by the Higher Education Research Institute.

Data on bachelor's and master's degrees come from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS) Completions Survey, which is part of an integrated system of surveys conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. This survey provides data on the number and types of degrees awarded by U.S. postsecondary institutions and data on the characteristics of degree recipients.

Data on graduate enrollments come primarily from NSF's Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering (GSESP) Survey. This survey provides data on the number and characteristics of graduate science and engineering students enrolled in U.S. institutions, differences in enrollment patterns, and differences in financial support patterns.

Data on doctoral degrees come primarily from the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), which is conducted by the National Research Council for the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This survey annually provides data on the number and characteristics of individuals receiving research doctorate degrees from U.S. institutions.

Data on employment come primarily from three surveys that will form an integrated system of NSF surveys called the Scientist and Engineer Statistics Data System (SESTAT), which produces national estimates of the entire science and engineering workforce. [9] The Survey of Doctorate Recipients provides demographic and employment information on individuals with doctoral degrees in science and engineering. This survey is a longitudinal survey of a sample of individuals under the age of 76 who received a research doctorate in science or engineering from a U.S. institution and who were living in the United States. The National Survey of Recent College Graduates provides employment and demographic data on individuals who recently obtained a bachelor's or master's degree in a science or engineering field. The National Survey of College Graduates provides data on the number and characteristics of individuals with training and/or employment in science and engineering in the United States.

Other large-scale sources of data used in this report include the NCES National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), the NCES Faculty Survey, and the NCES High School and Beyond Survey.

The Technical Notes in Appendix A present information on the underlying concepts, data collection techniques, reporting procedures, and statistical reliability of the primary data sources used in this report.


[9] Scholars and policy analysts may access the SESTAT system through a variety of means, including access through the World Wide Web and restricted use data files. Individuals interested in obtaining more information about accessing the system should contact the Division of Science Resources Studies' Science and Engineering Personnel Program (PER) at (703) 306-1776.


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