Research Associate

Washington, D.C.
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Created: August 15, 2014


The Research Associate is a position within the Pew Research Center’s Journalism project which studies the state of news and information in a changing society. The project 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, each year the project 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 and writing – and managing involvement in a number of different projects at once. This Research Associate will need to be comfortable with a number of different research methods including ethnography, survey design, interviews, data management, statistical analysis, algorithmic-based analysis, content analysis and methodological analysis. This position will also involve exploring and testing new – often algorithmic-based – research tools. And, research projects will often involve the use of multiple research methods. 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. The Research Associate will also be a part of the team that produces the Project’s Daily Briefing.

In addition to the work within the Journalism project, the Research Associate will also be involved with broader Pew Research Center initiatives, some which involve multiple Pew Research Projects and cover an issue across a number of different subject areas. This candidate, then, must be able to apply the above skills to a broader research agenda and contribute to the overall work of the Pew Research Center.

The successful researcher must be able to fulfill his or her primary responsibilities while meeting tight deadlines and balancing multiple accountabilities. The small 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 projects that make up the bulk of the Pew Research Center’s activities. The Research Associate reports to the Director of  Journalism Research.

Primary Responsibilities

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, ethnography, 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

Writing and Communication (35%)

  • Write and/or edit in-depth analysis for research reports
  • Write short form posts related to project work
  • 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


  • PhD or MA degree or extensive research experience
  • Proven experience in multiple rigorous research methods
  • 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 and statistical skills, including demonstrated facility with SPSS syntax and other statistical tools
  • Editorial judgment and proven ability to communicate research results clearly and concisely in Pew Research Center’s style in both verbal and written form
  • 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

Last updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 23:43 UTC