In this paper we present findings from a project that used topic modeling and associated techniques to chart the emergence and growth of research topics in engineering education research over 9 years, from 2000-2008. As a field engineering education research has undergone significant changes over the past decade. There has been an increase in the number of scholars and practitioners involved in the field, particularly those that are applying rigorous research principles to advance understanding of engineering education. In such a circumstance, it is important to understand the topics, approaches, and ideas that have caught the imagination of people in the community. Since this nature of work has not been done in relation to engineering education research, a significant part of the effort described here is innovative and exploratory in nature where different techniques were tested with the goal to collect a diversity of topics that are of interest to the community. We identify major categories of topics and primary topics of interest to the community. We also identify a lack of engagement with theoretical and analytical ideas as an area of concern.