Social Scientist

Washington, D.C
Apr 03, 2021
Apr 10, 2021
Full Time



The Wage & Investment Division (W&I) serves about 122 million taxpayers who file upwards of 94 million returns each year. W&I provides high-quality taxpayer assistance, and enable taxpayers to transact and communicate electronically to file their returns and make payments.

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WHAT DOES A SOCIAL SCIENTIST DO? A Social Scientist serves as a technical expert making use of advanced behavioral and social science knowledge to execute projects and duties. You will be required to possess a thorough understanding of the basic social economic and social psychology problems. In this role, you will be responsible for the integration of the assigned study into the major social economic and social psychology research problem, and the planning and execution of sequential work steps.

As a Social Scientist you will:
  • Provide technical advice in the development of specifications for all or a segment of the social science research study, presenting the data and analytical materials in the form most suitable to the end users.
  • Develop and possibly lead research to locate new sources of social science data, analyses, and interpret pertinent information, draws conclusions for use in social science research studies.
  • Demonstrate applicability of social science concepts and theories when framing research questions, analyzing data, and interpreting findings.
  • Develop, analyze, and review social economic and social psychology statistical information in assigned area to present findings and for reasonableness and accuracy of the material produced for a given study.
  • Assume responsibility for the effective use of resources within assigned subject matter projects and monitor such use to advise superiors of necessary remedial action or changes.
  • Review internal and external technical papers, articles, and other reports that use social science data for technical accuracy and proper application of social science methods and statistical analysis, taking into account the limitations of the social economic and social psychology data to ensure updated techniques and procedures are used.
  • Apply social science methods including social marketing, social norms marketing, anthropological marketing, and metaphor marketing to tax administration research to better understand taxpayer behavior and tax compliance.
  • Stay informed of social economic and social psychology, statistical and tax literature through information disseminated from higher graded professionals for data and research methodology appropriate for inclusion in the research process and also as a means of helping to evaluate the reasonableness of the data.

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OTHER IRS CAREERS? If you want to find out more about IRS careers, visit us on the web at

Travel Required

Occasional travel - Travel may be required 1 to 5 nights per month.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Refer to Other Information
  • Click "Print Preview" to review the entire announcement before applying.
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or National
  • IRS Employees with Career or Career Conditional Appointments



You must meet the following requirements by the closing date of this announcement.

BASIC REQUIREMENTS All grade levels:
You must have four (4) years course of study leading to a Bachelor's Degree at an accredited college or university in behavioral or social science; or related disciplines appropriate to the position. OR Four (4) years of appropriate experience that demonstrated knowledge of one or more of the behavioral or social sciences equivalent to a major in the field. OR
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.

In addition to the above, you must meet the requirements described below:

GS-13 LEVEL: In addition to meeting the basic requirements your experience must also demonstrate at least one (1) year of specialized experience equivalent to the grade 12 level. Your experience must demonstrate comprehensive professional knowledge of the methods and principles of social economic and social psychology to identify behavioral segments and profiles of taxpayer behavior, to determine conclusions, solve complex problems within the assigned area, draw rational social economic statistical conclusions and prepare comprehensive reports. Experience applying broad knowledge of technical expertise and application of social economic and social psychology and statistical techniques to research data and skillful interpretation of the results and validate findings; Experience should include developing, analyzing, and presenting social science information statistically, recognizing and adopting new techniques and preparing comprehensive reports. Your experience must demonstrate the ability of precision in carrying out research assignments using social science and statistical methodology to define profile and evaluate market segments of taxpayers for compliance with tax laws and resolve critical problems and to draw rational inferences. In addition, your experience must demonstrate technical responsibility for various phases of initiation, formulation, planning, execution, and control of major social science studies or continuous projects to recognize and evaluate significant and critical factors, to solve complex problems and to draw rational inferences based on research findings; Experience reviewing technical papers, articles, and other reports that use social science data for technical accuracy and proper application of social science methods and statistical analysis and resolving complex social science problems or errors.

-The experience may have been gained in the public sector, private sector or Volunteer Service. One year of experience refers to full-timework; part-timework is considered on a prorated basis.
-To ensure full credit for your work experience, please indicate dates of employment by month/year, and indicate number of hours worked per week, on your resume.

In addition to the above requirements, you must meet the following, if applicable:
You must have been at the GS-12 level for 52 weeks (time-in-grade requirement).


Additional information

One (1) vacancy total is to be filled in the Wage & Investment (W&I) Division, within Research Group 2.

The position may be filled in one of the following locations:
  • 401 W Peachtree St, Atlanta, GA (GA0087)
  • 77 K Street NE, Washington, DC (DC0198)

A PM/C SharePoint site is available for IRS Employees at:

  • We may select from this announcement or any other source to fill one or more vacancies.
  • This is a bargaining unit position.
  • Alternative work schedule, staggered work hours or telework may be available.
  • Tour of Duty: Monday - Friday 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Must meet IRS telework eligibility requirements
  • May be required to file a confidential financial disclosure report within 30 days of selection and annually from then on.

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

Your application includes your resume, responses to the online questions, and required supporting documents. Please be sure that your resume includes detailed information to support your qualifications for this position; failure to provide sufficient evidence in your resume may result in a "not qualified" determination.

Rating: Your application will be evaluated on the CJEs of the position to be filled per the National Agreement Article 13. Your application will also be rated and ranked among others, based on your responses to the online questions, regarding your experience, education, training, performance appraisals and awards relevant to the duties of this position. IRS employees may obtain most recent awards listing at
Your rating may be lowered, if your responses to the online questions are not supported by the education and/or experience described in your application.

Referral: You will be assigned to one of three quality groups. Each group represents a quality level (i.e., Superior/Best Qualified, Highly Qualified, Qualified). Candidates will be considered in quality group order.
If you are among the top qualified candidates, your application may be referred to a selecting official for consideration. You may be required to participate in a selection interview (telephonic and/or in person at the discretion of the Selecting Official in accordance with hiring polices). We will not reimburse costs related to the interview such as travel to and from the interview site.

If you are a displaced or surplus Treasury employee eligible for the Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) , you must receive a score of 80 or better to be rated as well qualified to receive special selection priority.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Not Required

Drug test required

Required Documents

A complete application includes 1. A resume, 2. Vacancy question responses, and 3. Submission of any required documents. Please note that if you do not provide all required information, as specified in this announcement, you will not be considered for this position (or may not receive the special consideration for which you may be eligible).

All applicants are required to submit a resume either by creating one in USAJOBS or uploading one of their own choosing. ( Cover letters are optional). To receive full credit for relevant experience, please list the month/year and number of hours worked for experience listed on your resume. We suggest that you preview the online questions, as you may need to customize your resume to ensure that it supports your responses to these questions. Please view Resume Tips

Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) DOCUMENTATION:
If you are a displaced or surplus Treasury employee, click CTAP for eligibility and a detailed list of required documents. IRS CTAP eligibles can apply for jobs within and outside the commuting area.

IRS Reassignment Preference Program (RPP)
You must meet the requirements in your RPP notice. Submit a copy of your RPP Notice along with a copy of your most recent annual performance appraisal. Your performance appraisal must have a fully successful or higher overall rating.

PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL/AWARDS: Submit a copy of your most recent completed performance appraisal. If a revalidated appraisal is used for merit promotion, the supervisor must prepare a narrative for each critical job element that does not have a narrative describing the performance in the appraisal period covered by the rating. Note: If you are a manager or management official, your most recent annual performance appraisal must be used for the overall rating identified.

If you are qualifying for this position by substituting education or training for experience, submit a copy of your transcripts or equivalent. If the position has specific education requirements and you are currently (or have previously been) in the Federal job series to be filled, there is no need to submit a transcript or equivalent at this time. An official transcript will be required if you are selected. A college or university degree generally must be from an accredited (or pre-accredited) college or university recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. For a list of schools which meet these criteria, please refer to Department of Education Accreditation page . If you are qualifying based on foreign education, you must submit proof of creditability of education as evaluated by a credentialing agency. Refer to the OPM instructions.

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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