Work type



Capability Area

Research and Survey

Research Methodologist I - GIS

Apply now Job no: 499401 Work type: Regular Full-Time Location: Chicago – 55 East Monroe Street, IL Capability Area: Methodology and Quantitative Social Sciences


NORC at the University of Chicago is seeking a Research Methodologist who is a GIS specialist to join the Methodology and Quantitative Social Sciences department.

DEPARTMENT: Methodology and Quantitative Social Sciences

The Methodology and Quantitative Social Sciences department implements state-of-the-art methodologies and develops innovations to deliver reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business and policy decisions for NORC clients. The department provides leadership throughout the project lifecycle on study design, data collection, assessment of data quality, quantitative analysis, and dissemination of results. The Methodological and Quantitative Social Sciences department also conducts its own research and is a leader in designing and implementing rigorous, efficient methods for gathering, evaluating, and analyzing data from primary and secondary sources.

The department provides expertise and leads NORC strategy on the use of a broad range of methods and techniques, including research and experimental design, recruitment and retention, instrument design and testing, assessing data quality, evaluating measurement properties of new measures, causal inference methods, machine learning, analysis of clustered data, data visualization and use of novel data sources and technologies to improve data gathering. The department collaborates with the Statistics and Data Science Department on areas of synergy and intersection and with all NORC subject matter departments, in addition to leading its own projects.

  • Providing technical advice and serving as an internal consultant on social science methodological and analytic issues to Project Directors and Task Leaders
  • Conducting quantitative and/or qualitative analyses for projects, including writing and/or implementing programs to extract and manipulate data, conducting analysis and/or developing and testing analytic models
  • Assisting with methodological and analytic tasks relevant to the project, including those related to maps, geocoding, spatial analyses, and demographic data
  • Perform day-to-day project activities, including: executing project tasks, preparing or reviewing deliverables, monitoring task budget and schedule, resolving technical and management problems, and communicating with the client and subcontractor(s)
  • Contributing to and reviewing the methodological/analytical sections of reports, presentations and other deliverables
  • Assisting with proposal and business development activities related to methodological, analytic, and/or study design tasks
  • Designing, conducting, analyzing and preparing reports on experimental/methodological studies
  • Presenting research papers at professional conferences, and submitting articles for publication in journals
  • Master’s degree in Geography, Sociology, Urban Studies, Statistics, or related social or environmental science-based field, or Bachelor’s degree and 2 years experience performing geospatial data processing and analysis.  
  • Experience with desktop GIS packages including ArcGIS, data manipulation, geospatial data processing, and mapping
  • Proficient in the use of computer software, especially packages for statistical analysis (SAS, R, or Python) and knowledge of computing platforms and data file construction
  • Experience with interactive data visualization and mapping libraries such as R-Shiny and JavaScript Leaflet and D3 and basic familiarity with HTML/CSS
  • Knowledge and experience with demographic, census and vital statistics data
  • Broad skills in geospatial data manipulation, processing, analysis, and mapping.
  • Skills in key geospatial techniques including data geocoding (and address matching), geospatial data manipulations, projections, and basic geospatial analyses
  • Knowledge of coordinate system and projections concepts
  • Experience in mapping and cartography to ensure geospatial results are portrayed accurately
  • Basic skills or experience manipulating data in MS Access, Excel spreadsheets and other data tools
  • General familiarity with social science research and policy issues
  • Must be detail and quality-oriented, with demonstrated written and oral communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal communication, analytic capability, technical writing, problem identification and resolution, and task management
  • Ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously, effectively organize and manage time, including ability to set priorities to meet all project, proposal, and administrative needs in a timely fashion 
  • Enthusiasm for teamwork and collaboration across disciplinary boundaries


  • The ability to automate complex geospatial processing steps using Python or other scripting languages
  • Skills in importing and integrating data from a variety of non-spatial data formats (spreadsheets, lists, text files, and databases) into GIS format
  • Experience in survey methodology, including sample design, weighting, and related analyses
  • Experience with national geospatial data such as TIGER, SF3, NLCD, and NHD
  • Knowledge of RDBMS concepts and basic skills with Structured Query Language (SQL)
  • Skills in supervision, leadership, team building, time management, personal organization, and ability to set priorities to meet all project, proposal, and administrative needs in a timely fashion  

NORC at the University of Chicago is an objective, non-partisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, our teams have conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with us to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.


For over 75 years, NORC has evolved in many ways, moving the needle with research methods, technical applications and groundbreaking research findings. But our tradition of excellence, passion for innovation, and commitment to collegiality have remained constant components of who we are as a brand, and who each of us is as a member of the NORC team. With world-class benefits, a business casual environment, and an emphasis on continuous learning, NORC is a place where people join for the stellar research and analysis work for which we’re known, and stay for the relationships they form with their colleagues who take pride in the impact their work is making on a global scale.


NORC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer that values and actively seeks diversity in the workforce. NORC evaluates qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other legally- protected characteristics.


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