Data & Research | Blog Post 1

While I was looking at summer jobs during the beginning of this year, all I really knew was that I wanted to work in research. I had some experience with qualitative research due to my prior jobs through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and at the Institute for Social Research, but I had very little practical experience with quantitative data. My only exposure to quantitative data came from my statistics and research methods university courses, but learning about theoretical data in a classroom is very different from using actual data in a real world setting. So while searching for jobs, I was mainly looking for statistics or science-based research projects at which I could develop my data usage and analysis skills. When I stumbled upon a Research Assistant job at the Social Science Data Analysis Network, I was intrigued by the work description, as the network focuses on using demographic data taken from the United States Census and creating content and tools to help others use it as well. Initially I was wary about whether or not I could even be considered for the job, as I am not very proficient in statistical analysis software and experience with such was mentioned in the job listing as a desired skill. However I did receive an email from my now-supervisor asking me to interview for the position, and after hearing more about the job I was very hopeful that I would receive an offer. He explained that one of the network’s main projects is the yearly workshop they host to train university educators how to better teach their students about using demographic data, which to me sounded like a worthwhile venture that could greatly help young people like me learn more about our country. Additionally, many of the tasks involved in the job included learning about data analysis, which was one of my work goals from the beginning. After my interview I was thrilled to receive an offer for the job, and I will be working there for the entirety of summer and into the school year. I am very glad that I was hired at the SSDAN, and I look forward to all the projects I will be working on in the future.

Kaitlyn

I'm currently a Research Assistant for the Social Science Data Analysis Network, an office within the Population Studies Center, which is a division of the Institute for Social Research here at the University of Michigan.

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