Research Analysts with the Data & Society Research Institute

Monday, July 27, 2015 - 12:00am
The Data & Society Research Institute is looking to hire one or two research analysts who can help conduct research on 1) how low-socioeconomic status individuals understand privacy and 2) the value of data in education.
Data & Society is a New York City-based research institute dedicated to addressing social, technical, ethical, legal, and policy issues that are emerging because of data-centric technological development. D&S brings together researchers, entrepreneurs, activists, policy creators, journalists, geeks, and public intellectuals to gather, debate, and engage one another on the key issues introduced by the increasing availability of data in society.

Job Description

We are seeking either one full-time research analyst (40+ hours/week) or two part-time (20+ hours/week) research analysts to help drive research components of two Data & Society projects. Start date is negotiable (by September 15 strongly preferred), and the appointment is for one year (with renewal possibilities). Applicants should have a Master’s or PhD in a social science or related field or significant experience doing similar types of research. This position is ideal for a researcher seeking to strengthen their research skills.

Current New York City-based PhD students will be considered so long as they have flexibility in their schedules; students currently enrolled in coursework typically do not. Postdocs will be considered, but postdoctoral candidates should be attentive to how working in an interdisciplinary research institute may not be received well by traditional academic departments. PhDs seeking to work outside of the academy, in think tanks, or across disciplines may find this position quite satisfying.

This is a fully funded position with benefits and vacation; starting salary is dependent on experience (full-time range: $45,000-$60,000). The appointment requires residency in New York. Travel may be necessary, both for conducting the research and for disseminating findings.

The work will involve coding and analyzing interview transcripts, conducting focus groups and qualitative interviews, doing literature reviews, and managing tasks to assure completion of the research agenda. The work might also involve survey design, depending on experience. The research analyst would work as a part of our research team, collaborating with danah boyd, Alice Marwick, and Monica Bulger, as well as other Data & Society researchers. Core findings from the work will be published through white papers, public-facing venues, and scholarly venues; the research analyst can expect to be a co-author on at least one paper.

The full-time analyst would work on two projects. Part-time research analysts would work on a single project. The projects:

  1. Reframing Privacy
    Project leads: Alice Marwick, danah boyd

    When policymakers, advocates, educators, and technologists invoke the term privacy in an effort to protect low-status individuals, are they using frames that resonate with those communities? If not, are different groups using different language to describe the same experiences and concerns, or are we talking about different concerns altogether?

    To begin to solve the problems surrounding socio-economic status and privacy, we must understand how low-status individuals conceptualize and experience both control of their own personal information and surveillance and monitoring by others. We need to examine the strategies and tactics that low-status individuals adopt in an effort to control social situations, and situate these approaches within the broader regulatory, technical, and social landscape of privacy. And we need to understand individual perceptions of control over privacy and what undermines this control.

    This project will seek to answer these questions by examining how American teenagers and young adults in low-SES communities understand and talk about efforts to control information flow, manage social situations, and otherwise engage in protective practices discussed by privacy researchers.

  2. Enabling Connected Learning
    Project leads: Monica Bulger, danah boyd

    What is the value of data in education and learning?

    As young people embrace technology to learn, play, and socialize, the boundaries between education, the home, and society get increasingly blurred. New concerns have emerged over student data, youth privacy, and educational reform. Federal and state policies focused on children, education, and technology influence what learning initiatives are possible. Privacy, safety, and security all shape the trustworthiness of different digital platforms and learning ecosystems, even as data can be used to enable new forms of learning and new opportunities for advancing education. While these issues are publicly debated and politically fraught, research to ground these conversations is limited.

    The goal of the Enabling Connected Learning initiative is to better understand exactly how existing and proposed policies affect connected learning initiatives and where and when student data can and should be used.

The full-time research analyst can also expect to contribute to other research projects at Data & Society, often by writing public-facing primers on emergent issues at the intersection of technology and society. Primers involve literature reviews, media rhetoric analysis, and mapping of organizations, money, and technology. The full-time candidate may contribute to any one of Data & Society’s signature initiatives (depending on experience and interest) and should love the opportunity to learn new domains.

This position is ideal for a qualitative researcher who is seeking to 1) do impact-oriented research that concerns young people, privacy, and education; 2) be a part of a fast-paced research team; and 3) be situated in a community of researchers all looking to understand the intersection of technology and society.


  • Master’s or PhD in social science or related field, or equivalent research experience
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills
  • Demonstrated interest and knowledge in qualitative methodology
  • Experience coding qualitative research data, producing literature reviews, and curating relevant research materials
  • Curious and collaborative self-starter who can help drive a project forward (usually involves herding cats); project management experience is especially desirable
  • Knowledge of some combination of: youth socio-technical practices, privacy, inequality, education
  • Familiarity with low-income communities and/or communities of color and/or familiarity with research on technology and students, teachers, and parents

Preference will be given to candidates who have experience working with low-status youth populations, as a researcher, advocate, educator, or volunteer. Preference will also be given to full-time candidates currently living in the New York region and familiar with New York communities.


To apply, please send an email to with the subject “Research Analyst Application” and include the following attachments:
  • One-page, single-spaced personal statement, including a description of research experience, interests, and professional goals; background working with low-status and/or education communities should be highlighted here
  • CV, including publications
  • Writing sample (preferably a journal article or equivalent research document that contains a literature review)
  • Links to online presence (e.g., blog, homepage, Twitter, journalistic endeavors, etc.)
  • The names and email addresses of two recommenders
  • A cover letter that includes current city of residence, available start date, and any other practical consideration that may be important for us to know; please indicate if you are eligible to work in the U.S. without visa sponsorship. Cover letter should also make clear whether you are available full time or part time.

We will begin reviewing applications on July 27, 2015, and will continue to do so until we find the right research analyst(s).

Please contact us at should you have any questions about the position. Questions about the opportunity or process will not reflect negatively on your application.

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