Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research in the areas of U.S. politics and policy views; media and journalism; internet and technology; science and society; religion and public life; Hispanic trends; global attitudes and U.S. social and demographic trends. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Center’s work is carried out by a staff of about 140.
The Research Associate is a position within the Pew Research Center’s Journalism team which studies the state of news and information in a changing society, including how news is consumed, who is reporting it and how technology is shaping the information landscape. The responsibilities of this position concentrate on – but are not limited to – expertise in content analysis design (both human and machine) and media habits within various racial and ethnic populations in the U.S. This includes research on news media aimed at Hispanic, African-American and other communities, the impact of social media and mobile technology on news behaviors of different U.S. populations, the economics of ethnic media, news coverage of presidential politics and newsmakers as news providers.
The Journalism team employs a variety of empirical research methods to analyze whether people are getting the information they need for a functioning society. It publishes research on who is reporting the news and what new players are emerging; what is being reported on and what gaps in coverage exist; how news is consumed and how the economic models for news are changing. In addition to reports on these topics, the team produces the State of the News Media report, which examines key questions facing the industry. Its goal is to help the public and those in media, as well as other researchers and scholars, develop a better understanding of the revolution in the news and media landscape.
The Research Associate will contribute on all aspects of a wide range of its research projects. This includes development, original research, analysis and writing – and managing involvement in a number of different projects at once including regular participation in Journalism’s Daily Briefing report. This Research Associate will need to be familiar with a number of different research methods including but not limited to topic modeling (such as LDA), manual and computer-assisted news content analysis, and survey design. Additionally, the Associate should have experience pulling data from APIs and querying data in SQL databases, with a preference for candidates that have done research using social media data and have worked in Python and R.
The Research Associate will work integrally within and/or lead broader research teams to ensure that projects are designed and developed effectively, that data management and coding is carried out without errors, and that data analysis and reports make the maximum contribution and meet the highest standards of accuracy and impartiality. Individual oversight and judgment at all of these stages are critical.
In addition to the work within the Journalism team, the Research Associate will also be involved with broader Pew Research Center initiatives, which cover issues across a number of different subject areas. The Research Associate will also be expected to produce regular blog posts based on Pew Research data and to collaborate with the Data Labs team. This candidate, then, must be able to apply the above skills to a broader research agenda and contribute to the overall work of Pew Research Center.
Candidates with more extensive experience or exceptionally strong qualifications may be considered for appointment at the Senior Researcher level. Job responsibilities at the senior researcher level will involve more project design, management and writing or editing.
The successful researcher must be able to fulfill his or her primary responsibilities while meeting tight deadlines and balancing multiple accountabilities. The size of our organization, collaborative work environment, and relatively “flat” hierarchy mean that researchers often work directly with the senior staff on targeted research, communications or organizational projects, in addition to contributing to the broader research areas that make up the bulk of Pew Research Center’s activities. The Research Associate reports to the Director of Journalism Research.
Research design, implementation and data analysis (55%)
- Determine the best research method or methods to answer the question at hand which could include content analysis, survey design, interviews, algorithmic-based analysis or other methods
- Project design and development
- Conduct/Implement original research
- Coordinate with outside collaborators or data suppliers
- Data management and statistical analysis
- Number checking
- Stay abreast of trends in news and information and in new kinds of data methodologies
Writing and Communication (30%)
- Write and/or edit in-depth analysis for research reports
- Write short form posts related to project work
- Write blog posts
- Special analyses, projects, responding to external requests for information
- Attend internal meetings as the representative for the journalism research work as needed
- Represent Pew Research Center Journalism work to media and external groups
- Assist as needed in social media needs
Other Project Needs (10%)
- Create project timelines and manage deadlines
- Update senior staff or other Pew Research Center members as needed
- Daily Briefing work
- Other general “team player” contributions
Cross-Center Collaborations (5%)
- Take part in research collaborations with other areas of the Center
- PhD or MA degree or extensive research experience in a media, communications, social science, statistics, or mathematics discipline
- Proven experience in multiple rigorous research methods including using SPSS, Excel and big data software tools
- Research experience on and working knowledge of news and media
- Experience in managing research projects, including working collaboratively with other researchers
Knowledge, Skill and Workplace Requirements
- Strong background in Social Science research
- Interest in news media, journalism, and communications
- Strong quantitative skills, including an ability to use various statistical programs to organize and analyze large amounts of data
- Ability to work with large data sets using query languages such as SQL
- Ability to access social media data through GNIP or the Facebook API
- Ability to conduct data analytics in NodeXL, R, Python
- Editorial judgment and proven ability to communicate research results clearly and concisely in Pew Research Center’s style in both verbal and written form
- Familiarity with the web, drafting charts, graphs, using our CMS program and photo shop, and more
- Detail oriented with exacting standards to maintain accuracy and impartiality in all work products
- Ability to work independently to carry out special projects from start to finish
- Ability to balance numerous tasks simultaneously
- Ability to work well in a team setting
- Proficiency in Spanish is preferred
FLSA Status: Exempt
Applicant should send a résumé, cover letter (indicating where you learned of the opening) with salary expectations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Responses can also be mailed to:
Human Resources Department
Pew Research Center
1615 L Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036
We are an equal opportunity employer.