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Research Associate

Center for Tech and Civic Life

Center for Tech and Civic Life

Full-time
Chicago, IL, USA · Remote
58,914 USD per year
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2024

Starting Salary: $58,914 Application Deadline: February 21, 2024

Location: Remote

The Center for Tech and Civic Life’s (CTCL) Civic Info programs help organize the country’s civic information and answer voters’ most pressing questions like, “What’s on my ballot?”, “Who represents me?”, and “What are the responsibilities of my elected officials?” for federal, state, and local levels of government.

Our north star is that access to such civic information allows communities to develop lifelong civic engagement habits, resulting in governments that are more reflective of their communities. These communities include voters who are newly eligible, have limited English proficiency, live with disabilities, or are from communities that are impacted by the digital divide or historical disenfranchisement due to race.

This is an entry-level position. The Research Associate will research and compile datasets of elected officials and candidates for office across all levels of government across the country. The Research Associate will have the following responsibilities, as well as other tasks that may be assigned:

Growth Opportunities

CTCL uses organizational systems to keep staff connected and accountable to each other and the work. These systems include goal-setting, evaluations, and annual staff retreats, as well as staff meetings and 1:1 calls each week. It’s also important that CTCL be adaptive to respond to the changing needs of the world around us. This might look like setting goals, evaluating our tactics, and deciding to shift priorities over time. This means the people who work with CTCL are thoughtful in both making plans and also adjusting them based on emerging information.

We stay curious and persistent as the landscape of election administration shifts in the United States. To adapt to new challenges and invest in the excellence of our team, all positions at CTCL provide opportunities for continued education and improvement, with a focus on professional growth opportunities related to the scope and complexity of your work, specialized knowledge, independence, and leadership.

CTCL is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. We encourage people of all races, colors, religions, national origins, sexual orientations, genders, sexes, ages, abilities, branches of military service, and political party affiliations to apply.

Job requirements

Responsibilities

Conduct research into elections and governments across the country.

  • Lead year-round efforts to collect, maintain, and expand our elected official and candidate datasets. These datasets include candidates and elected officials, their websites, social media accounts, contact information, demographic information, and other related fields.
  • Lead efforts to create, maintain, and expand internal research about government structures, election laws, and data collection strategies. This includes conducting election landscape research, consulting state and local statutes, monitoring changes in election laws, and maintaining state profiles and research trackers.
  • Lead efforts to clearly and professionally communicate, via phone or email, with local election officials across the country, in order to complete research for our core datasets.
  • Support with additional research and analyses as needed, including research into local election officials and other election administration topics and research into the responsibilities of key elected offices.

Organize and clean data.

  • This represents a significant portion of our work. Lead efforts to transform research from disparate sources and formats into standardized and machine readable datasets using Microsoft Excel, our suite of internal tools, and other spreadsheet or data products as necessary.
  • Coordinate closely with the Quality Assurance team to ensure the accuracy and completeness of our datasets according to internal data standards. This includes fixing errors during quality control checks, providing sources of truth to aid with the quality assurance process, and following internal data standards and guidelines closely.

Coordinate across the Civic Information team on research processes.

  • Regularly attend and participate in team discussions about our research processes and implementation. Provide researcher input in strategic discussions about data offerings and use cases. This includes generating new ideas and planning for new and expanded data coverage with oversight from Project Managers.
  • Coordinate with other Researcher Associates, Quality Assurance Associates, Project Managers, and Software Engineers regarding your assigned research, and work closely with all relevant parties towards timely completion of our data contracts.

Qualifications

If you’re not familiar with elections or data cleaning, that’s okay — what’s most important are your skills as a researcher and teammate. Even if you aren’t sure you’re qualified, but are excited about the position, we encourage you to apply!

A successful candidate for the Research Associate position will have a familiarity with CTCL’s mission and, while no candidate will possess every quality, they will possess many of the following qualifications and personal attributes:

  • Strong sense of curiosity and attention to detail. You take delight in problem-solving, immersing yourself in obscure topics, and untangling edge cases. When faced with conflicting information, you ask the right questions and seek support in making a decision. You are able to stay motivated to produce excellent results when the work gets tedious.
  • Eagerness to learn. This includes learning about American politics, elections, and election administration. This also includes learning about new tools and technology, such as learning formulas in Microsoft Excel and other tools to efficiently collect and organize thousands of rows of data. Experience with Excel and data organization is a plus, but not required.
  • Sound judgment. You’re able to balance different projects with different timelines, and know when to ask for help when you need it. You remain flexible and able to adapt to shifting deadlines. You practice discretion when dealing with sensitive information and when adhering to non-disclosure agreements. You are able to make your best, informed judgment call when faced with conflicting or vague information.
  • Strong communicator and collaborator. You are comfortable working closely with multiple stakeholders at varying levels and collaborating laterally among teammates and vertically with managers. You can maintain clear and open lines of communication, you’re able to proactively communicate any delays or shifts in workflow, and you’re used to breaking information silos. You function well in a team and lean into collaboration when designing and building processes, identifying and solving problems, and creating project documentation.
  • Reflectiveness. When working on a project, you identify parts of the process that work well and parts that need improvement, and provide constructive feedback during team debriefs. You are reflective about your own strengths and weaknesses and seek to continuously improve.

To Apply

  • Complete a short application form and upload your resume. Do not submit a cover letter. It will be ignored. (Only applications submitted through this form will be accepted; materials submitted via email will not be considered.) This should take approximately 30 minutes.
  • If you meet the listed criteria, you will be part of a select group invited to complete an online job simulation exercise to demonstrate your qualifications and also get a better idea of what the job will be like. The simulation will take approximately 2 hours to complete.
  • Based on your application and simulation, a video interview and reference check will be conducted to determine if you are the best fit for the position. The interview will take approximately 90 minutes.
Center for Tech and Civic Life is an equal opportunity employer.