Work type



Capability Area

Research and Survey

Research Scientist - Public Affairs and Media Research

Apply now Job no: 497353 Work type: Regular Full-Time Location: Chicago – 55 East Monroe Street, IL Capability Area: Public Affairs & Media


NORC at the University of Chicago seeks a qualified Research Scientist to join its Public Affairs and Media Research Department in our Chicago, IL or Bethesda, MD office.

DEPARTMENT: Public Affairs and Media Research

The Public Affairs and Media Research Department conducts high-quality research for our clients in order to deliver reliable insights that fuel effective business and communication strategies. We provide the nuanced understanding of people’s opinions, beliefs, and behaviors that organizations need to understand and serve their audiences in a world of vast and accelerating change. Our clients comprise some of the nation’s most influential and forward-looking media companies, PR and consulting firms, philanthropies, and policymaking organizations.

Through The AP-NORC Center and our relationships with other leading news and media organizations, we are able to work with our clients to position research findings for the journalists, policymakers, and thought leaders who can amplify their impact.

  • Managing research projects end-to-end under the direction of senior staff, or assisting with project management for larger projects as a task lead
  • Providing substantive input and direction to task leaders and project directors
  • Preparing and analyzing data collected during pretests and main components of studies in accordance with professional standards
  • Assisting with the design of experiments and other methodological research for data collection efforts.
  • Working on questionnaire content and design, bringing an understanding of the literature and seminal research of the substantive field to the design of the instrument
  • Writing publication quality research reports
  • Manage project logistics, including budget monitoring, junior staff oversight, and timeline
  • Work directly with clients to keep them updated on project progress, respond to project requests, and understand their goals for the project
  • This position also has responsibilities for developing grant applications and contract proposals, generally contributing to sections in which understanding of the substantive area is vital, in assisting communications with clients, consultants, and members of the research community, and obtaining information about and interpreting upcoming and issued Requests for Proposals (RFPs), Requests for Applications, Program Announcements, and other solicitation information
  • Master's Degree or Bachelor’s Degree and equivalent experience required; PhD in political science, social psychology, communications, survey methodology, or other social science discipline preferred
  • At least 7 years’ experience in positions of increasing responsibility in survey research or related field (or equivalent education) including at least 3 years' of social science project management
  • Experience with the design and execution of social science research and in publishing research results.
  • Knowledge and experience in a substantive field is highly desirable. Training or experience in journalism, communications, or elections research is a plus
  • In addition to a substantive background in a relevant discipline, the ideal candidate will have experience and knowledge of the principles of survey design, regression analysis and causal modeling in the social sciences, sampling, standard statistical software packages (such as SAS, R, or Stata), and quantitative data file construction
  • Strong problem solving, project management, relationship management skills
  • Demonstrated ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously
  • Some experience in client communications and relationship management
  • The candidate must have very good oral and written communication skills and a strong orientation toward working in teams and coordinating work with other teams
  • Experience mentoring or supervising junior staff is required
  • Experience with estimating project and proposal costs is a plus

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, NORC has 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 NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.

NORC conducts research in five main areas: Economics, Markets, and the Workforce; Education, Training, and Learning; Global Development; Health and Well-Being; and Society, Media, and Public Affairs.

We provide comprehensive and integrated services that span the research cycle, and offer solutions that anticipate and address critical needs in research and data science. We approach all work with deep technical expertise, a spirit of collaboration, and a commitment to scientific integrity.  


As one of the oldest not-for-profit, academic research organizations in the United States, and through its affiliation with the University of Chicago, NORC maintains the highest standard of professional excellence and scientific rigor, and is committed to broad dissemination of its findings.


NORC’s subject matter experts and survey professionals develop and employ innovative study designs, research methods, and technical applications to derive meaningful and accurate results.


NORC cultivates an interdisciplinary culture of achievement in which senior investigators from diverse fields and professional backgrounds collaborate with the next generation of researchers in an open, collegial environment.


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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