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Senior Research Associate

Public Agenda

Public Agenda

70,000 – 80,000 USD per year
Posted on Friday, September 1, 2023

About Public Agenda

Public Agenda is a mission-focused research and public engagement organization. We seek to strengthen democracy by expanding voice and participation opportunities for all Americans. We focus on improving democracy itself and the systems and institutions that determine whether the promise of American democracy will be realized in the lives of everyday people—systems such as health care, education, and criminal justice. We discover pathways and tools for change, and we connect what we are learning to individuals and organizations who can put it to use.

About the Position

The Senior Research Associate (SRA) will contribute to Public Agenda’s efforts through work on research projects that use qualitative and quantitative methodologies—surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews, diary studies—to develop deeper understandings of the views of Americans on key issues, their experiences with important institutions, their values, and their aspirations. The SRA may also participate in research that analyzes media coverage and other forms of public discourse. We are particularly interested in (1) candidates whose skills enable them to identify causal relationships in analyses of attitudes and opinions, as well as the impact of policies and practices, and (2) candidates who are well prepared to conduct research on policies and practices aimed at strengthening democracy in the United States.

Based on the successful candidate’s skills and research interests, the SRA will participate in developing ideas for new research projects consistent with Public Agenda’s mission. In keeping with Public Agenda’s commitment to connecting research to action, the SRA will also contribute to projects that link our research and public engagement capacities and that bring knowledge and knowhow to people who can use it.

The successful candidate will also contribute to the Democracy Renewal Project, a new Public Agenda initiative that will involve translating and synthesizing academic research on policies and practices intended to strengthen democracy—and bringing what we learn to people who can use the information to take action.

Because we are a small team engaged in a broad range of research and engagement activities, we seek a candidate with varied interests and a strong desire to learn about new policy areas and develop new research skills. We are particularly interested in a candidate who can complement our existing strengths by (1) adding to our capacity to conduct research on strengthening our nation’s democracy and (2) adding to our methodological toolkit.

The SRA’s most frequent tasks will include:

  • Participating in the development of research instruments, including survey questions, focus group guides, and interview questions
  • Analyzing quantitative and qualitative data
  • Writing formal public-facing research reports and more accessible pieces such as blog posts on research findings
  • Presenting findings in settings such as conferences and meetings with funders and partners
  • Translating research findings into accessible language and formats for use by non-researchers
  • Facilitating discussions about research findings with interested constituencies, including advocates, journalists, policymakers, and members of the philanthropic community
  • Collaborating with colleagues on logistics to ensure smooth completion of projects
  • Collaborating with Public Agenda’s communications team on the production and dissemination of reports and presentations
  • Collaborating with colleagues across the organization to identify and find support for new projects

Desired qualifications, skills, and abilities:

  • Advanced skills in statistical analysis, including experience with descriptive and inferential statistics, correlational analyses, regressions, and statistical tests
  • Experience with survey research
  • Knowledge of and research experience with key questions in United States politics
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and an ability to communicate research findings to non-researchers
  • Experience making progress on several projects at once
  • Experience with or willingness and aptitude to learn focus group facilitation
  • Experience working with large volumes of unstructured data to create datasets is a plus
  • Experience pulling and cleaning large quantities of data from public databases is a plus
  • Collaborative spirit
  • Commitment to Public Agenda’s mission
  • Comfort working in a non-partisan environment committed to ideological diversity
  • Commitment to a respectful and equitable workplace

Public Agenda’s staff is geographically distributed, and this is a work-from-anywhere position within the United States. Staff members must be available to work during standard Eastern Time business hours.

The SRA must be available to travel for quarterly organization-wide meetings and occasional additional conferences and meetings.

The annual salary range for this position is $70,000-$80,000.

Public Agenda is a qualifying employer under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF).

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the individual(s) assigned to this position. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, and skills required. Management reserves the right to modify, add, or remove duties and to assign other duties as necessary. In addition, reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of this position.

Our organization is committed to equal employment opportunity and diversity in the workplace. We will not discriminate against employees or applicants for employment on any legally-recognized basis [“protected class”] including, but not limited to: veteran status, uniform service member status, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, or any other protected class under federal, state, or local law.

Interested candidates should submit (1) a resume or CV, (2) a cover letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the position, and (3) a research-related writing sample (of any length) to

Public Agenda is an equal opportunity employer.