SMC is hiring a Research Assistant!

UPDATE: At this time we have a great pool for 2014 and are no longer accepting applications.

Microsoft Research (MSR) is looking for a Research Assistant for its Social Media Collective in the New England lab, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Social Media Collective consists of Nancy Baym, Mary Gray, Jessa Lingel, and Kevin Driscoll in Cambridge, and Kate Crawford and danah boyd in New York City, as well as faculty visitors and Ph.D. interns. The RA will be working directly with Nancy Baym, Kate Crawford and Mary Gray.

An appropriate candidate will be a self-starter who is passionate and knowledgeable about the social and cultural implications of technology. Strong skills in writing, organisation and academic research are essential, as are time-management and multi-tasking. Minimal qualifications are a BA or equivalent degree in a humanities or social science discipline and some qualitative research training.

Job responsibilities will include:
– Sourcing and curating relevant literature and research materials
– Producing literature reviews and/or annotated bibliographies
– Coding ethnographic and interview data
– Editing manuscripts
– Working with academic journals on themed sections
– Assisting with research project and event organization

The RA will also get to collaborate on ongoing research and, while publication is not a guarantee, the RA will be encouraged to co-author papers while at MSR. The RAship will require 40 hours per week on site in Cambridge, MA, and remote collaboration with the researchers in the New York City lab. It is a 1-year only contractor position, paid hourly with flexible daytime hours. The start date will ideally be in late June, although flexibility is possible for the right candidate.

This position is ideal for junior scholars who will be applying to PhD programs in Communication, Media Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Information Studies, and related fields and want to develop and hone their research skills before entering a graduate program. Current New England-based MA/PhD students are welcome to apply provided they can commit to 40 hours of on-site work per week.

To apply, please send an email to Nancy Baym ( with the subject “RA Application” and include the following attachments:

– One-page (single-spaced) personal statement, including a description of research experience, interests, and professional goals
– CV or resume
– Writing sample (preferably a literature review or a scholarly-styled article)
– Links to online presence (e.g., blog, homepage, Twitter, journalistic endeavors, etc.)
– The names and emails of two recommenders

We will begin reviewing applications on May 12 and will continue to do so until we find an appropriate candidate.

Please feel free to ask quesions about the position in the comments! I have answered a couple of the most common ones there already.

4 thoughts on “SMC is hiring a Research Assistant!

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for letting us know about this great opportunity.
    I have one quick question, are applications encouraged from those outside the US?
    I’m an Australian currently based in Canada and I would be quite keen to apply.
    Thanks again,

  2. Two common questions we have been asked:

    (1) Will we consider international applicants?

    Yes – but given the short time scale of the search and the time it can take to get a work visa to the US, we will give preference to US citizens, green card holders, and people who already have visas that allow them to work full time in the US.

    (2) I already have a PhD, can I apply?

    First, congratulations on finishing your degree! But, while this job is ideal for someone who wants to pursue a PhD, this is not an appropriate position for someone who already has one.

  3. Shion


    Thank you for posting about this opportunity. One quick question:

    Would you encourage applications from PhDs in progress – especially from those whose current research themes resonate well with the current work in the SMC?

    I am a doctoral candidate (ABD) and could think of a world where I spend a year in absentia from my current program and do research that will ultimately contribute nicely to my dissertation.

    Thank you,


  4. Yes current PhD students are welcome to apply so long as they can dedicate 40 hours a week on site to this job (i.e., probably not a good thing to do while trying to write a dissertation unless you barely need sleep). However if this is in your area and taking a year off from grad school makes sense for you, it could be a sweet gig.

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