Research Area Specialist Senior/Intermediate

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How to Apply

A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The letter should address your specific interest in the position, and outline your experience that directly relate to it.


The Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) is a social science study that has collected economic, social, and demographic data from U.S. adults since 1968. We are located within the Survey Research Center (SRC) at the Institute for Social Research (ISR). Our central mission is to provide the scientific research community of economists, sociologists, demographers, and other social scientists with accurate data and documentation. The PSID includes major supplemental data collections such as the Child Development Supplement (CDS) and the Transition into Adulthood Supplement (TAS). The project is looking for a Research Associate to join the Data Processing team who is experienced in the domains of data cleaning and processing, data management, creation of codebooks and user guides, and report writing.


  • As a senior member of the Data Processing team, lead the data processing effort on PSID major supplemental studies from start to finish, including specification of data to ensure the correct collection of the data; manipulating the raw survey data and paradata; creating final result codes; generating complex variables and scales; reviewing and evaluating results
  • Use SAS to clean, process, and transform social science panel data to prepare for editing; write and revise SAS programs to transform raw data; determine the correct number of records and merge on correct person identifiers to raw data; produce SAS output for identifying potential problems with record integrity
  • Prepare analysis files from complex longitudinal data and paradata, conduct data consistency and data quality checks, and conduct statistical analysis for substantive and quality assessment. 
  • Apply complex longitudinal rules to perform family composition and economic data editing
  • Construct detailed codebook documentation that creates variable-level specifications and code frames in an Oracle Forms application; create variable names, labels, and formats; construct new and maintain existing cross year index that categorizes survey measures and maps comparable measures across interviews; develop documentation of data files, including Web-based codebooks and other electronic documentation
  • Write and edit technical reports and training materials, including processing and editing in Word, creation of charts, graphs, and tables in Excel
  • Supervise and train staff in the processing and editing of supplemental study data
  • Provide technical expertise and training to other members of the Data Processing team on processing and analysis. Assist members with understanding their task, reviewing their work, meeting with them to respond to questions and help solve problems
  • Assist the project in other areas as needed, which may include but not be limited to testing and troubleshooting the questionnaire application and data center merges prior to public release.  During production, conduct analysis of the data as it is collected, including data quality checks for internal use as needed.   Present project information and results at meetings and conferences as needed. Provide statistical support for sponsor progress reports and as needed for Project Investigators and external scientists. 

Required Qualifications*

  • Master’s degree in social science, computer science, statistics, or related field. 
  • 5 or more years of experience with management and analysis of social science survey data
  • Experience using SAS to manage and manipulate data, with an emphasis on data step programming, merging data, and using macro statements.
  • Demonstrated competency in statistics, including producing and assessing descriptive statistics, evaluating outliers, and handling missing data
  • Demonstrated ability to subset, merge, and restructure complex data files
  • Experience in identifying and solving data problems and applying complex sample design and rules
  • Ability to work successfully in a team environment, excellent interpersonal skills, and excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Self-directed, organized, and highly attentive to detail

Desired Qualifications*

  • Advanced knowledge of statistics and survey methods. 
  • Demonstrated experience in the management, processing, and editing of longitudinal social science survey data. 
  • Experience with relational databases such as Oracle, and running queries in SAS. 
  • Proficiency in SAS for data analysis and data management. 

Underfill Statement

Based on candidate qualifications, the position may be underfilled at the Intermediate level. The Intermediate level requires a master’s degree in a field of science directly related to the position as well as four years of related experience. Salary would be commensurate with the Intermediate level position.

Additional Information

The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan seeks to employ a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the diverse people of Michigan, to maintain the excellence of the university, and to ground our research in varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning.

Benefits at the University of Michigan

In addition to a career filled with purpose and opportunity, The University of Michigan offers a comprehensive benefits package to help you stay well, protect yourself and any eligible family members and plan for a secure future. Benefits include:

  • Generous time off
  • A retirement plan that provides two-for-one matching contributions with immediate vesting upon meeting eligiblity requirements
  • Many choices for comprehensive health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Long-term disability coverage
  • Flexible spending accounts for healthcare and dependent care expenses

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

U-M COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

COVID-19 vaccinations are now required for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all three campuses, including Michigan Medicine.  This includes those working or learning remotely.  More information on this policy is available on the Campus Blueprint website or the U-M Dearborn and U-M Flint websites.