Research Area Specialist Intermediate

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How to Apply

A cover letter is required for consideration for this position.  The cover letter should specifically address why you are interested in this position, describe specific skills and experiences in your history, and directly relate them to the responsibilities of, and qualification for this position.  In order for the Career Portal system to accept your cover letter, include it as the first page of your resume document.


This position is part of the Survey Research Operations (SRO) Design, Methodology, and Statistical Support (DMSS) unit at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, Survey Research Center.  DMSS is responsible for sample design, paradata monitoring, weighting and imputation, and data analysis for a wide range of surveys. The unit also houses a program of methodological research to improve the cost-effectiveness and quality of survey estimates and offers internal statistical support to other SRO units.

The Research Area Specialist will be responsible for sample implementation, paradata monitoring, weighting and imputation, and data analysis in a supporting role on SRO sponsored projects. Other responsibilities may include management of data collection efforts, implementation of developmental initiatives and methodological research, as well survey design consultation.

More information about our organization can be found here:


Paradata analysis and reporting

Perform complex database queries and develop reports on data collection processes.  Provide complex paradata exploration and analysis for internal and external clients.  Expand tailored project reporting using complex paradata.  Develop dashboards and similar tools to facilitate monitoring of sample performance.

Sample design, implementation, and processing

Support the SRO Sampling Operations in the implementation of sample designs on sponsored projects. Provide analysis of external data sources to inform design decisions.  Implement and provide project documentation for post-survey processing steps including weighting, imputation of missing data, non-response and other post-survey adjustment.

Analysis and expanding survey methods

Provide methodological support on survey design, data collection, and analysis to researchers and other SRO units. Expand survey research methods and extend technical systems to achieve efficient collection and analysis of survey measures and uses of paradata. Collaborate with senior statisticians and staff from the Design, Methodology and Statistical Support Unit and other units to identify developmental initiatives to improve the cost-effectiveness and quality of survey processes and survey estimates. Assist in preparing research papers and manuscripts for publication and presentation at conferences and workshops.

Data management

Implement procedures for organizing, classifying and reporting data during all phases of a project’s life-cycle; program recodes and derived variables necessary for quality control and monitoring of production; prepare and document final versions of complex datasets including cleaning, recoding, reformatting and outputting data as necessary for delivery to key stakeholders.

Special assignments

Lead a project team on small projects or developmental initiatives to meet deliverables on time and on budget. Define and manage project/task scope. Prepare project work plans and schedules in consultation with study staff and other members of the project team. 

Required Qualifications*

  • Master’s degree in statistics, data science, survey methodology, biostatistics, geospatial data sciences, environmental informatics, or quantitative social science.
  • Minimum 4-5 years of experience in research design, implementation, or data analysis, including 1-2 years of experience in some aspect of survey research, data collection, sampling, coding, data management, data processing, application programming, analysis, methodology, or geographic information systems.
  • Demonstrated statistical proficiency.
  • Demonstrated competency using R.
  • Demonstrated competency with at least one other statistical software package, such SAS, Python, Stata, or SPSS.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • Strong organizational skills, attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Ability to effectively collaborate with others in a highly team-based environment.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Demonstrated experience with geographic information system (GIS) or geocoding.
  • Demonstrated skills in any of the following areas: statistical process control, reporting or dashboard development, composing technical documentation, relational database technologies, or production support.
  • Experience working with a variety of data sources and querying complex data from databases, and familiarity with data management or report programming tools such as Tableau, SAS BI, and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS).
  • Demonstrated experience in statistical sample design, sample implementation, and/or post-survey data processing.

Work Locations

We are currently working in a hybrid environment due to the ongoing pandemic. When face-to-face work at the University of Michigan resumes, this position will require being on-site at the University of Michigan offices in Ann Arbor. If relocation is required, we will allow for reasonable time and flexibility to make necessary arrangements. 

Underfill Statement

This position may be under-filled at a lower classification (Research Area Specialist Associate) depending on the qualifications of the selected candidate.  Candidates with a Bachelor’s degree and 1-3 years of experience will be considered at the Associate level, with a salary range of $45,000.00 – $60,000.00.


Additional Information

The Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan seeks to recruit and retain 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 eligibility requirements. 
  • Many choices for comprehensive health insurance.
  • Life insurance.
  • Long-term disability coverage.
  • Flexible spending accounts for healthcare and dependent care expenses.


Application Deadline

Institute for Social Research job openings are posted for a minimum of fourteen (14) calendar days. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled any time after the minimum posting period has ended. Salary is dependent upon qualifications and experience of selected candidate. 

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, including boosters when eligible, are required for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all campuses, including Michigan Medicine.  This includes those working remotely.   More information on this new policy is available on the Campus Blueprint website or the UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint websites.