Research Assistant
Health Resources in Action, Inc. - Boston, MA

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Position Title: Research Assistant

Program Area: Research and Evaluation Department

Manager: Senior Research Associate

Date Posted: July 29, 2014

Health Resources in Action (HRiA) is a 50+ year old non-profit organization, serving philanthropic, governmental, and health care organizations to help people live healthier lives and create healthy communities through prevention, health promotion, policy development, and research. Specifically, HRiA's Research and Evaluation (R&E) Department works with a variety of clients such as health departments, hospitals, schools, foundations, and community organizations to provide valid, reliable data for developing, implementing, and improving health and social programs and initiatives across the United States. These services help guide each step of program and policy planning by assessing community strengths and needs, determining potential key partners, understanding issues salient to target audiences, identifying challenges, and evaluating progress and impact. Services include, but are not limited to, survey development and administration, interview and focus group moderation, statistical data analysis, report writing, and translation of research findings into actionable program planning steps.

Be part of this exciting organization that works with communities in the Boston area, New England, and across the country to identify and address health issues in innovative ways.

Position Summary:

This is an exempt, full-time (1.0 FTE) position. The Research Assistant will be a key member of HRiA's R&E Department and will provide research-related support and assistance on a variety of projects. While the R&E Department conducts studies using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the Research Assistant position is quantitatively focused . The majority of work will involve identification and review of secondary data, the development and programming of surveys in online survey administration tools (e.g., SurveyMonkey), data cleaning, data management, and basic data analysis (e.g., frequencies, chi-square tests).

The Research Assistant will be involved in community health assessment and evaluation studies which aim to guide the development and implementation of health interventions. The R&E Department conducts numerous projects by multiple staff, and the Research Assistant will provide research and data management support to many projects at one time.

The Research Assistant will be supervised by the Senior Research Associate, but will work closely with all members of the R&E Department.

Duties & Responsibilities:

While this position will be involved in a variety of tasks, primary duties will include:

Primary Quantitative Data Collection, Management, and Analysis (40%)
  • Assisting in developing survey instruments for telephone, online, or in-person administration for assessment and evaluation projects
  • Programming online surveys into an online system such as SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics
  • Cleaning data, recoding and collapsing variables, and conducting overall data management of quantitative data in SPSS for several evaluation projects, including the CMS-funded New England Asthma Innovation Collaborative (NEAIC)
  • Coordinating data collection including providing logistical support for in-person intercept surveys and managing administration of online surveys
  • Conducting basic quantitative data analysis (frequencies, means, bivariate analyses such as chi-square and T-tests)
Secondary Data Compilation, Review, and Presentation (35%)
  • Identifying secondary data sources on key social, economic, and health indicators for specific geographic areas as part of community health assessment studies
  • Compiling and managing aggregate data in Excel
  • Presenting community health indicator data in a clear, visually-appealing manner (e.g., creating graphs and tables in Excel, formatting graphs and narrative in MS Word)
Other R&E Support (25%)
  • Assisting the R&E team with report development including interpreting results, writing draft narrative, and editing reports
  • Creating draft PowerPoint presentations of research findings Assisting in the preparation and editing of new business proposals and other related materials
  • Conducting draft literature reviews and environmental scans (including searching academic databases and online directories, reading and synthesizing published studies and organizational reports)
  • Providing logistical and organizational support for research projects (e.g., logistics for organizing focus groups, note-taking during focus groups, etc.)
  • Completing research-related administrative tasks when needed (e.g., formatting reports and proposals, copying and packaging surveys for administration)
  • Attending project meetings, as appropriate, and performing other related duties
  • Participating in some domestic travel (1 to 2 weeklong trips per year) to assist in data collection for specific projects (e.g., note-taking during focus groups, survey administration)
  • Bachelor's degree, preferably in a social science such as sociology, psychology or other relevant field such as public health or education, with an emphasis on quantitative methods
  • 1-3 years relevant experience, preferably research related to public health, education, or the social sciences
  • Experience with fundamental techniques in data cleaning, management, and analysis, including experience in using statistical software such as SPSS, Stata, or SAS
  • Detail-oriented
  • Ability to prioritize and coordinate multiple projects simultaneously
  • Enthusiastic and hard-working; willing to be involved in all aspects of R&E projects
  • Strong writing and analytical skills
  • Knowledge of Microsoft software, specifically MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Demonstrated commitment to working with diverse staff
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills and can take personal initiative and exercise independent judgment
  • Calm in a fast-paced, busy environment
  • Able to work independently and as a part of a team
  • Flexibility and a sense of humor
  • A valid driver's license a plus
This description is intended to indicate the kinds of work duties that will be required in this position. It is not intended to limit, or in any way modify, the rights of any supervisor to assign, direct, and contract work of staff under his/her supervision. The use of a particular illustration describing duties shall not be held to exclude other duties, not mentioned, that are of a similar level or difficulty.

Diversity in organizational practices is a core value of Health Resources in Action resulting in culturally competent services, materials, resources, and programs. Our hiring and business practices appreciate the strengths offered through different backgrounds.