Senior Research Associate

Washington, D.C
Nov 16, 2020
Nov 24, 2020
Analyst, Research
Full Time


The incumbent analyzes factors associated with the sentencing of federal criminal defendants and provides expertise in research methods and analytic techniques. Under the supervision of the Director and Deputy Directors of the Office of Research and Data (ORD), the incumbent will be responsible for leading data analysis projects, to include directing the work of other staff members.
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The duties of this position include but are not limited to:
  • Independently managing and directing large-scale research projects from inception to final project completion including: overseeing research design, data collection, providing technical guidance and project direction to research associates, conducting quantitative and qualitative analysis, and providing results in oral and written format.
  • Providing technical advice on methodological approaches to research projects (e.g., research design, analytical techniques, etc.).
  • Participating in the design of new data coding instruments, making data coding decisions, and evaluating the reliability of data collection projects.
  • Preparing research reports, analyzing and interpreting the findings for use by Commission staff, Congress, the criminal justice community, and the public.
  • Reviewing reports and findings by Commission staff outside ORD to assure accuracy in terms of guideline application, data use, and technical precision.
  • Participating in Commission staff policy teams and working groups.
  • Mentoring and assisting in the training and development of research associates.
  • Assisting the Director and Deputy Directors of ORD in: (a) managing Commission contracts, (b) coordinating and allocating resources, and (c) providing input regarding ORD staff job performance.
  • Performing other duties as assigned by the Director or Deputy Directors of ORD.

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • This position is in the excepted service and does not carry the tenure rights of positions in the competitive Civil Service.
  • All information is subject to verification. Applicants are advised that false answers or omissions of information on application materials or inability to meet the following conditions may be grounds for non-selection, withdrawal of an offer of employment, or dismissal after being employed.
  • Selection for this position is contingent upon completion of OF-306, Declaration for Federal Employment during the pre-employment process and proof of U.S. citizenship or, for noncitizens, proof of authorization to work in the United States and proof of entitlement to receive compensation. Additional information on the employment of non-citizens can be found at: . For a list of documents that may be used to provide proof of citizenship or authorization to work in the United States, please refer to .
  • A background security investigation is required for all selectees. Appointment will be subject to a selectee's successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements may be grounds for appropriate personnel action. A background security reinvestigation or supplemental investigation may be required at a later time.
  • All new Commission employees must identify a financial institution for direct deposit of pay before appointment, mandated by the Federal Compensation Act.
  • All new Commission employees, those converted from a temporary appointment to a permanent appointment, and all rehired former Commission employees are required to serve a one-year probationary period. The probationary period begins on the effective date of the employee's appointment, conversion, or rehire.
  • Applicant must relocate to the Washington DC Metropolitan area.


Applicants must have a Ph.D. in criminology or a closely-related social science field, and a minimum of five years of post-degree work experience in the research field.

One (1) year of specialized work experience equivalent to the previous level in the federal service is required. For example, one (1) year of specialized experience at the GS-12 level is required to qualify for appointment at the GS-13 level. Specialized experience is defined as progressively responsible work experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities that will enable the individual to successfully perform the duties of this position, and that is typically in or related to the work of this position.

  • Ability to conduct and lead criminal justice research projects.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of SAS, R, or SPSS
  • Knowledge of advanced statistical techniques.
  • Ability to produce research reports for several audiences including Commissioners, Congress, the Federal Judiciary, academia, and the public.
  • Effective oral and written communication skills and an ability to serve as a representative for the agency at professional conferences and meetings with other government officials.
  • Ability to work well in a demanding environment, meet tight deadlines, and manage multiple assignments.
  • Ability to work independently and as a member of a team, and to maintain effective working relationships with agency staff at all levels and with key individuals in other federal government organizations and interest groups.
  • Experience with extracting data from databases (e.g., Oracle).


  • Applicants must have a Ph.D. in criminology or a closely-related social science field.

Additional information

The Commission participates in the following federal benefits: The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program; the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program, federal retirement, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), and the federal leave program. In addition, the Commission participates in the Judiciary's Flexible Spending Program for dependent care, health care, and commuter reimbursement, and the government-wide Long-Term Care Insurance Program, unemployment, and workers' compensation benefits.

The Commission offers a monthly transit subsidy to employees who use mass transit to commute to and from work, subject to the availability of funds. The Commission offers alternative work schedules (AWS), which are fixed work schedules that enable full-time employees to complete the basic 80-hour biweekly work requirement in less than 10 workdays.

The Commission offers limited regular telework (not full-time) to employees in positions deemed eligible by the staff director and who meet the requirements of an approved telework arrangement in which an employee performs official duties at home or at an approved telework center.

The Commission also offers training opportunities to employees through LinkedIn Learning, and the Judiciary's Online University, which offers academic credit and professional credit programs through web-based learning. These training tools assist Commission employees with taking online courses in a flexible way, by offering training courses in the areas of: staff training and development; credit toward undergraduate degree programs; continuing education and non-credit certificate programs; executive education; contract training; credit credentials courses for continuing professional education and credit for individuals who hold credentials and achieve certifications associated with several globally-recognized sponsored organizations.

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

The Commission evaluates applicants through a structured interview. Applicants may also be screened for some jobs through a narrative/application review, and/or a preliminary telephone interview. Applicants may be required to take a skills assessment test. Applicants who do not address the qualification requirements (mandatory and preferred) in his or her application materials as stated in the vacancy announcement are automatically disqualified from consideration and must re-apply before the closing date to be considered for employment.

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Required Documents

  • An electronic resume.
  • An electronic cover letter that address all of the qualification requirements listed in this announcement.
  • If available, provide a recent job performance evaluation.
  • If available, provide college transcripts.

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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