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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

18 - Were You Successful? Evaluation and Metrics


Sooner or later, scientists with National Science Foundation support will experience some sort of evaluation, whether they like it or not. This is particularly true for larger projects with a greater emphasis on outcomes and impacts. The traditional notion in some principal investigators’ (PI) minds, that funds are awarded for researchers to “do good things” without eventual accountability, is unrealistic in today’s world. For a variety of reasons, the bar has been raised on being able to demonstrate the success of NSF projects, and in so doing, the value of the investment made using taxpayer funds. The problem with evaluation is that unless you are already involved in educational or psychological research, most STEM professionals do not understand what this process entails, how it is done, and how expensive it can be to do it right. There are also different kinds of evaluation procedures depending upon the project being analyzed. It also follows that, if done properly, evaluation is in itself a science with accepted protocols and best practices.