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Methodology

For the initial study (EMS 1.0), a 35-question survey was administered to over 30,000 engineering juniors and seniors across a nationally representative sample of 27 U.S. engineering schools (EMS Schools) in February-March 2015. Over 7,000 students responded, of whom approximately 6,100 self-identified as juniors or seniors. The survey drew upon psychological theories of career choice to ask students about their "innovation self-efficacy", their expectations for the outcomes of innovative behaviors, their innovation interests, and their goals around doing innovative work in their early careers. This survey also was designed to measure a comprehensive range of undergraduate learning experiences that may influence students' beliefs about their ability to innovate, and included measures of students' entrepreneurial activities, past, present, and future.

Our first follow-up to EMS 1.0, or EMS 2.0, was conducted in April 2016 and designed to “post-test” the core innovation constructs of EMS 1.0, resulting in approximately 1,400 valid responses. EMS 2.0 also included several questions about employment status and choices given that some fraction of EMS 1.0 respondents had graduated and entered the workforce. As with 1.0, the 2.0 instrument was piloted in multiple phases, with engineering students at two different colleges/universities, alumni of an undergraduate engineering program at another university, and early career engineering professionals at a firm in San Francisco, CA.

Our second follow-up to EMS 1.0, or EMS 3.0, was administered in October-November 2017, to all respondents in previous surveys who agreed to be contacted. About 1,000 respondents participated in EMS 3.0, and about half of these respondents participated in EMS 2.0 as well (creating a three time-point dataset for a subset of the overall sample). EMS 3.0 was designed to capture the many possible pathways that engineering students might take following graduation (or since we contacted them in 2015), inclusive of graduate school, internships, job searches, and part- and full-time employment. The section on current employment covered not only occupation and industry classifications, and role and business unit for one's current job, but also questions about the types of assignments respondents were given, their relationships and sense of belonging at work, their activities around innovation and "core" engineering tasks, and their plans for their next career steps.

Our Technical Report outlining the design and implementation of EMS 1.0 and 2.0 can be found at the FAQ link on the main EMS page, as can our EMS 3.0 addendum to this report.