Social Science Research Specialist

Washington, D.C
Jun 15, 2019
Jun 18, 2019
Analyst, Research
Full Time


Joining the Secret Service, Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information, Protective Intelligence and Assessment Division, National Threat Assessment Center will allow you to apply a wide range of behavioral and social science research principles, concepts, and methods which are related to the prevention of targeted violence, threat assessment, terrorism, criminal behavior and protective intelligence.

Learn more about this agency


The selectee will serve as a Social Science Research Specialist in the Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information, Protective Intelligence & Assessment Division, National Threat Assessment Center. His/Her duties will include, but are not limited to:
  • Applies existing behavioral and social science research principles, concepts, and methods to execute research tasks under the direction of senior staff, to include identification of study samples, drafting of coding and survey instruments, collecting and analyzing data and other information; reviews scientific literature; creates annotated bibliographies; and conducts literature reviews.
  • Documents the research process, findings, and implications; drafts sections of reports, training sessions, prepares written incident analysis summaries and case summaries.
  • Develops and executes information sharing initiatives, training and consultative frameworks for diverse audiences to assist with the development of threat assessment program.
  • Utilizes conventional research techniques to identify pertinent data in scientific literature, government reports, news media, Internet sites, and other information systems on targeted violence, threat assessments, terrorism, and criminal behaviors.
  • Applies existing behavioral and social science research principles, concepts, and methods in the execution of research tasks to include creation of study data files in statistical software, data entry, and execution of descriptive statistical functions, execution of statistical analyses, and interpretation and analysis of data.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - *****

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • U.S. citizenship is required.

Conditions of Employment
If selected for this position, you will be required to:
  • Obtain and maintain a top secret Tier 5 clearance. For more information visit OPM Mythbuster Page .
  • Submit to a polygraph examination prior to your appointment.
  • Submit to a drug test prior to your appointment and random drug testing while you occupy the position.
  • Certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System or are exempt from having to do so, if you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959.


Basic Requirements:

1. Degree: behavioral or social science.
2. Combination of education and experience--that provided the applicant with knowledge of one or more of the behavioral or social sciences equivalent to a major in the field.
3. Four years of appropriate experience that demonstrated that the applicant has acquired knowledge of one or more of the behavioral or social sciences equivalent to a major in the field.


GS-09: You qualify for the GS-09 level (starting salary $56,233) if you possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-07 level performing duties such as: performing routine tasks, assignments and research that develops an understanding for the prevention of targeted violence, threat assessment, terrorism, criminal behavior, and protective intelligence; perform research, fact-finding, analysis, and evaluation of raw data.

*****If you are called for an interview, you must submit two items: 1) A writing sample; 2) A proposal for a research project related to targeted violence and/or threat assessment. In 500 words or less the proposal should describe the research question, method for collecting and analyzing the data, and a plan for disseminating results.*****

National Service Experience (i.e., volunteer experience) Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community; student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) must authorize employment offers made to current or former political appointees. If you are currently, or have been within the last 5 years, a political Schedule A, Schedule C, Non-career SES or Presidential Appointee employee in the Executive Branch, you must disclose this information to the Human Resources Office.

Qualifications Must Be Met: The qualification requirements listed above must be met by the closing date of this announcement.


If you are qualifying based on education, or you are qualifying based on a combination of education and experience please see the below requirements:


2 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or master's or equivalent graduate degree; OR

A combination of graduate level education and experience. This will be calculated using your résumé and unofficial transcripts or a list of courses/course hours submitted with your application.

Additional information

Building on a Tradition of Excellence and Meeting the Challenges of the Future The Secret Service is a premier law enforcement organization with two critical national security missions: protect our nation's leaders and to conduct criminal investigations. Our team members continue a tradition of excellence - whether investigating financial crime or protecting national and visiting foreign leaders. In the Secret Service, we serve the country with duty, loyalty, justice, integrity and courage.

In the Secret Service, we:
  • Protect the President, the Vice President, and other leaders; investigate threats against them; and safeguard their residences and other facilities
  • Plan and implement security designs for National Special Security Events
  • Investigate financial crimes including fraud, identity theft and computer-based attacks on banking or telecommunications infrastructure

Apply for this exciting opportunity to be able to provide research, training, and consultation on threat assessment methods and the prevention of targeted violence that poses a potential threat to persons and facilities protected by the agency. This Social Science Research Specialist position starts at a salary of $56,233 (GS-9, step 1), with promotion potential to $126,062 (GS-13, step 10). For more information on the Secret Service click here .

Any offers of employment made pursuant to this announcement will be consistent with all applicable authorities, including Presidential Memoranda, Executive Orders, interpretive U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidance, and Office of Management and Budget plans and policies concerning hiring. These authorities are subject to change.

More than one selection may be made from this announcement if additional identical vacancies in the same title, series, grade and unit occur.

Applying to this announcement certifies that you give permission for DHS to share your application with others in DHS for similar positions.

E-Verify Statement: DHS uses E-Verify, an Internet-based system, to confirm the eligibility of all newly hired employees to work in the United States. Click here to learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities.

Mandatory Suitability Statement:

If you receive a conditional offer of employment for this position, you will be required to complete an Optional Form 306, Declaration for Federal Employment , and to sign and certify the accuracy of all information in your application, prior to entry on duty. False statements on any part of the application may result in withdrawal of offer of employment, dismissal after beginning work, fine, or imprisonment.

This position will require a credit check after initial job qualifications have been determined.

Relocation expenses will not be authorized.

View common definitions of terms found in this announcement.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Your application will be rated on the extent and quality of your experience, education and training relevant to the duties of the position. A score will automatically be calculated based on your answers to the vacancy specific questions. All answers provided in the online process must be substantiated by your resume. If, upon review, it is determined that your resume, essay responses, and/or supporting documents do not support your answer choices, your application will not be considered and you will be deemed ineligible. Your qualifications will be evaluated on the basis of your level of knowledge, skills, abilities and/or competencies in the following areas:
  • Ability to apply standardized research principles, concepts and methods from the behavioral sciences, social sciences or related fields.
  • Ability to prepare reports and other written documents based on research findings and other information.
  • Skill in presenting and articulating information on research findings.
  • Skill to conduct research across a variety of electronic and hard copy resources.
  • Skill with using statistical software products, i.e., Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and other software products (e.g., PowerPoint and Microsoft Access).

If you are among the best qualified candidates, your application will be referred to a selecting official for consideration and possible interview. If you are a displaced or surplus Federal employee (eligible for the Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP)/Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP)), you must be in the best qualified category to be rated as well qualified to receive special selection priority. For more information on CTAP/ICTAP, go to the following website: .
The Category Rating procedures are being used to rate our candidates. Applicants will be ranked based on three category groups, as follows:
  • Best Qualified - you must be highly proficient with an overall comprehensive level of knowledge, skills, and abilities of the job based on a complete review of your application.
  • Highly Qualified - you must have an overall accomplished level of knowledge, skills, and abilities of the job.
  • Qualified - you must have an overall basic level of knowledge, skills, and abilities of the job.
  • Qualified veterans will be afforded preference by being placed at the top of the appropriate category group. Qualifying veterans with a service-connected disability of 10% or more will be placed at the top of the best qualified group, except when the position being filled is scientific or professional at the GS-9 grade level or higher.

Interview Requirement: Interviews are required for this position. Failure to complete the interview may result in removal from further consideration.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Sensitive Compartmented Information

Drug test required

Required Documents

In addition to addressing the vacancy specific questions, you must also submit the following documentation:
  • Resume - In order to receive credit for experience contained in an uploaded resume, your employment history should show work experience in month/year format (MM/YYYY), reflecting starting date and ending date, and include the number of hours worked per week.
  • If you are qualifying based on education, or the position has an education requirement, or you are qualifying based on a combination of education and experience , you must submit a copy of your college/university transcript (unofficial is acceptable) it must show school name, student's name, credit earned, degree, and date awarded. Education must be obtained from an accredited institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet Federal qualification requirements if you can show that your foreign education is comparable to education received in accredited educational institutions in the United States. For example, specific courses accepted for college-level credit by an accredited U.S. college or university, or foreign education evaluated by an organization recognized for accreditation by the Department of Education as education equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. college or university. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence with your application. See Recognition of Foreign Qualifications for more information. Those with Foreign education, click here .
  • Special Priority Selection rights under ICTAP: Submit a copy of your agency notice, copy of your most recent performance appraisal (with at least a satisfactory rating),and your most current SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location.
  • Are you a Veteran? Submit a DD-214 (Member Copy 4) and/or documentation of service connected disability. If applying based on eligibility under the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act, you must submit certification from the Armed Forces that you will be discharged or released from active duty within 120 days from the date on the certification. This must indicate your dates of service, your rank, and confirm that you will be separated under honorable conditions. Those applying for 10-point preference must fill out the SF-15 (click here for the form) and provide the required documentation listed on the back of the form. Click here for more veterans' information.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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