Position Description

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Research Analyst (Social Research & Organizational Culture) - SFRD
Department Strategy, Forces & Resources Division
Location Alexandria, VA
Closing Date 10/27/17
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The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) is a federally funded research and development center supporting the Department of Defense and other federal agencies that require rigorous and objective analysis of national security issues. The Strategy, Forces and Resources Division (SFRD) performs interdisciplinary analyses of plans and policies related to national security strategy, the structure and capabilities of US, allied and adversary forces, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense, organizational efficiency and management issues, and human capital challenges. SFRD has an opening for a Research Analyst to contribute to analyses principally focused on socio-cultural aspects of human capital strategy and organizational effectiveness.  


Research Analysts are career research staff, typically with PhDs.  Research Anlaysts engage with senior US government officials to develop research programs on government policy, budgetary, and program choices. After defining a research question, Research Analysts:

  • Develop and implement research plans
  • Select appropriate methodologies and analytic tools for research
  • Develop and deploy data collection strategies including those involving human subjects, various survey methods, interview protocols, and literature reviews
  • Collect or oversee the collection of data
  • Implement and apply software appropriate to the research problem (including various approaches to text analytics, and analysis of survey or interview-based data)
  • Interact with research subjects, including subject matter experts, in the research process
  • Communicate effectively with research sponsors in designing studies and disseminating results
  • Direct more junior research assistants and associates in development of software code and in applying the code to test hypotheses

Some research tasks will be narrowly focused, while others will address a broader spectrum of concerns.  Research Associates contributing to SFRD’s human capital programs of work will apply social and behavioral science theory, conceptual models, and qualitative methods to problems associated with the contribution of culture, climate, opinions, attitudes and other socio-economic factors to the effectiveness of national security policies, programs, operations and organizations.  RAs are expected to demonstrate proficiency in rigorous and structured analytic techniques and to be familiar with modern computer applications appropriate to the individual’s academic discipline.   RAs are members of interdisciplinary research teams and must demonstrate good interpersonal communications skills and contribute effectively to a team approach to problem solving. The issues that IDA addresses change constantly and RAs are expected to be adaptable and self-motivated, demonstrating a capacity for independent thought and sound judgment while creatively applying rigorous analysis methods to complex policy problems. As part of the research process, IDA research teams will travel to US government or US security partner field locations (typically headquarters or office-like locations).


  • Requires a PhD or DBA in one of the following fields: Sociology; Psychology; Social or Cultural History; Cultural Geography, Anthropology, or Political Science; Women’s, Ethnic, or Cultural Studies; or Market Research and Organizational Behavior.
  • Applicant’s dissertation or subsequent published research record must include objective qualitative research with human subjects.
  • Requires a record of accomplishments and demonstrated research experience in collection and analysis of socio-cultural, behavioral, or organizational data derived from surveys, interviews, focus groups, and/or other non-quantitative sources. 
  • Requires demonstrated proficiency in design and use of survey instruments, interview protocols, expert elicitation techniques, or other techniques suitable for discovery and analysis of socio-cultural factors in populations.
  • Requires experience with human subject research & IRB processes and procedures.
  • Requires the ability to communicate complex concepts simply and clearly in written and spoken contexts.
  • Candidates are required to complete an on-line application.  Candidates who progress to later stages of the evaluation process will be required to provide a cover letter outlining your interest in the position, and how your skill set, experiences, and education align with the defined responsibilities, a writing sample, and contact information for three references capable of attesting to the candidate’s skills relative to the qualifications for this position.  Applicants less than 7 years post-degree will be asked to provide a copy of their transcripts (undergraduate & graduate//unofficial copies will suffice).
  • US Citizenship is required.
  • Applicants selected will be subject to a security investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information.

IDA is committed to working with and providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. If, because of a medical condition or disability, you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process or in order to perform the essential functions of a position, please send an email to employment@ida.org and let us know the nature of your request and contact information.