Charting the Impact of Federal Spending for Education Research

Impact evaluation plays a critical role in determining whether federally funded research programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are wise investments. This paper develops quantitative methods for program evaluation and applies this approach to a flagship National Science Foundation–funded education research program, Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and Engineering (REESE). Results of three different bibliometric analyses all point to the same conclusion: REESE is an interdisciplinary research program that attracts highly productive investigators who exhibit an additional increase in their productivity rate as a result of receiving REESE funding. Limitations of the bibliometric approach are discussed, and directions are provided for the future of impact evaluations of research programs intended to serve the public good.