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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Government Statistics Resources

Q: What is a federal statistical agency?

A: A federal statistical agency is a component of the federal government whose principal function is the compilation and analysis of data and the dissemination of information for statistical purposes.

Q: Where can I find more information on official U.S. government statistics?

A: Please use the links below to explore additional statistical information.

U.S. Principal Statistical Agencies and Recognized Units

Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology

Data and Statistics About the United States

Research Program Resources

Q: What areas of methodological research does NCSES conduct when collecting survey data?

A: Methodological experiments on surveys by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) may focus on determining an optimal incentive amount, identifying respondents’ mode preference, evaluating usability of online instruments, and exploring the most effective contact strategies, as well as implementing adaptive design.

Q: Can you tell me about the partnership between NCSES and the Coleridge Initiative’s Applied Data Analytics program?

A: NCSES has partnered with the Coleridge Initiative’s Applied Data Analytics programs to encourage researchers to use NCSES data to explore questions about pathways to STEM education and careers and its relevance to science policy.

Q: Can you provide a few examples of past analysis projects for the Coleridge Initiative’s Applied Data Analytics program?

A: A few examples of past analysis projects include:  

  • The role of federal funding on PhD career outcomes
  • Debt levels of doctorate recipients
  • Retention of PhD graduates by region
  • The likelihood of science and engineering doctorate recipients to work in a science and engineering field or academia after graduation 

NCSES Funding Opportunities

Q: Where are Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) solicitations posted?

A: Solicitations are posted on sam.gov. You will find them listed under Contract Opportunities.

Q: When are Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) solicitations posted?

A: Solicitations are typically posted around December 1 and can be found by navigating to sam.gov.

Q: How long do Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) awards span?

A: BAA awards are designed to last no more than 2 years due to the experimental nature of the work and the potential for this research be only the first stage of a larger endeavor.

Q: What is the funding amount for Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) awards?

A: BAA funding awards may vary, but they will not exceed a budget of $500,000.

Q: Is the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) the same as a grant?

A: No, the BAA is its own unique funding mechanism and operates much like a cooperative agreement. Unlike a traditional contract, which can be highly prescriptive, the BAA offers considerable flexibility for the applicant to propose an innovative research plan. Institutions that are awarded a BAA research project will follow contract protocols as opposed to grant reporting mechanisms used by the National Science Foundation. Awardees will still specify deliverables but are given the flexibility to adjust the research plan if results are pointing in a new direction.

For Survey Participants

Q: I’ve been contacted to participate in an NCSES Survey. How can I tell if this is a legitimate survey?

A: Each NCSES survey form has an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) number with an expiration date that represents federal approval and authorization for the agency to collect the information from you. Some NCSES surveys are conducted by the Census Bureau and some are conducted under contract with private survey research organizations to collect the information on our behalf.  Although the contracting organizations are not official government agencies, we require and verify strict security and confidentiality protections are in place by our contractors to collect and store NCSES survey data. In addition, we include NCSES staff contacts for any questions or concerns you may have regarding the survey when contacted by the Census Bureau or our contractor organizations.

Q: I’ve agreed to participate in an NCSES survey. What can I expect?

A: The information that you provide when completing the survey is used only in aggregate form to produce and publish NCSES statistical reports. In some cases, we may recontact you to verify or clarify information that you may have provided on our forms.