Through literature research extending back through archived microfilm, coupled with a fairly thorough understanding of federal budgets, I and coworkers were able to extract this relationship between federal R&D spending in the physical sciences, math and engineering and student output in those same disciplines. This analysis received a commendation letter from Nobel Laureate Burt Richter and was used by various advocacy organizations in their communications with Congress.
Social Network Analysis
This social network analysis, performed for Vibeffect, shows the relationships between college attributes (red) and student attributes (blue).
Factor analysis and regression are common tools for making surveys more "scientific." The factor analysis above was from a survey designed for a small nonprofit. The final survey we designed explains about 79% of an individual's supervisor rating, based on 5 fundamental workplace skills.
For a humorous look at all the work that was required to narrow down hundreds of potential survey items to the 12 that could most economically and consistently explain the vast majority of workplace performance, see this picture.