Research Associate Position @ WestEd

About WestEd

As a community of over 800 researchers, practitioners, consultants, and administrative professionals from all backgrounds and life experiences, we are committed to making a qualitative difference in the lives of youth, children, and adults. We conduct and apply research, develop evidence-based solutions, and provide consulting services across the country in both rural and urban communities to improve equitable outcomes for individuals from infancy through adulthood. Serving as trusted partners in the areas of education, health, and justice, our teams enhance capacity within communities and school districts to prioritize impact — asking the right questions, customizing methodologies, developing relevant tools, and implementing best practices specific to a diverse range of stakeholder needs.  

Furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion is core to who we are and how we work. We are committed to working with our clients to illuminate and address disparities, value and elevate diverse voices, and ensure equitable access to our resources and services. Please review our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.  

Come and join us! 

SPECIAL NOTICE REGARDING THE WORK LOCATION OF THIS POSITION—Currently, all staff at WestEd are working from home until further notice.  Although a remote option may have been listed as one location option for this position, the default location for all WestEd positions is in one of WestEd’s offices.  However, candidates may submit a request to work from home. 

 As of December 8, 2021, all WestEd employees are required to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.  New employees will be required to provide proof of full vaccination no later than December 8.  If you want to be considered for a medical or religious exemption, you will have an opportunity to provide appropriate documentation. 

 The Opportunity

As a Research Associate in the Early Childhood Learning and Development (ECLD) content area, you will contribute to the planning and implementation of applied research and evaluation studies of local- and state-level systems, policies, and initiatives designed to support the well-being of young children and families, especially those who have been historically underserved. The applied research and evaluation projects for this role currently include a formative evaluation of a coaching model within a local Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS), as well as a formative and summative evaluation of the California Statewide Early Math Initiative. Both evaluations utilize quantitative and qualitative methods. As an ECLD Research Associate, you will also contribute to additional projects, based on project needs and your areas of expertise and interest. This role will require the candidate to work with a broad range of individuals (e.g., researchers, evaluation partners, consultants, early educators, and community organizations), demonstrate leadership, and adapt to a dynamic, fast-paced environment.

 Core Focus Areas

To support policymakers and practitioners to effectively implement systems and initiatives with a positive impact on children and families from diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, we’re looking for a Research Associate who brings the interest and expertise to perform the following tasks:

  • Contribute to the development of research and evaluation project design and methods tailored to clients’ priorities
  • Work to intentionally apply principles of culturally responsive evaluation or equitable evaluation throughout the evaluation process
  • Conduct comprehensive, annotated literature reviews on early childhood development and education, as well as relevant research methods, to inform and plan research and evaluation tasks
  • Plan, design, and refine qualitative and quantitative data collection instruments (e.g., surveys, observation protocols, rubrics, interview guides, focus group guides)
  • Lead various data collection efforts (e.g., facilitating interviews and focus groups, conducting observations, administering surveys)
  • Conduct and manage quantitative data analysis including basic and advanced statistical analyses (e.g., factor analysis, multiple regression)
  • Contribute to the development of analysis plans (e.g., coding schemes, statistical tests, etc.), using quantitative and qualitative analyses software (e.g., SPSS, Dedoose), and review others’ analyses to ensure quality
  • Organize and draft evaluation reports and presentations for different audiences
  • Manage tasks, assignments, and staff within projects with support from project leadership
  • Build relationships and facilitate communication between members of the project
  • Maintain ongoing communication with clients and community stakeholders to address their needs and expectations
  • Contribute to the conceptualization and writing of proposals at the direction of proposal leaders
  • Present at conferences and other industry/client events
  • Participate in professional learning opportunities to develop knowledge, skills, and abilities in content areas relevant to work responsibilities

What We’re Looking For

  • Graduate degree in child development, education, education policy, psychology, public health, or related field (PhD or EdD required)
  • Deep knowledge of research and evaluation methodology, measurement, and qualitative and quantitative data analysis
  • Experience conducting applied research or evaluation in education, psychology, and/or social sciences, preferably with experience in evaluating system-level initiatives and policies
  • Strong commitment to apply principles of culturally responsive evaluation or equitable evaluation in applied research and evaluation projects
  • Content or contextual knowledge of ECE practices, policies, and systems designed to support children and families (e.g., Quality Improvement Rating Systems (QIRS), home visiting, professional development for the ECE workforce)
  • Knowledge of early childhood development
  • Programming experience in at least one major statistical package (e.g., SPSS, Stata)
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and work as a team player and to treat staff, partners, clients, and evaluation participants respectfully
  • Strong written and oral communication skills to write evaluation reports and lead presentations
  • High level of self-motivation and ability to work independently
  • Resourcefulness, careful attention to detail, and strong organizational skills
  • Excellent problem-solving and decision-making skills, including the ability to prioritize work on multiple projects
  • High tolerance for ambiguity, demonstrated flexibility, and a willingness to new responsibilities
  • Ability to provide and accept constructive criticism

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

  • Paid job
  • Professional development
  • Research
  • Post-graduation