The SMC is hiring a Research Assistant in the New England lab

The Social Media Collective is looking for a Research Assistant to work with us at Microsoft Research New England in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The MSR Social Media Collective in New England currently consists of Nancy Baym, Tarleton Gillespie, Mary L. Gray, and Elena Maris in Cambridge, as well as faculty visitors and Ph.D. interns affiliated with the MSR New England. The RA will take over from current RA Christopher Persaud and will work directly with Nancy Baym, Tarleton Gillespie, and Mary L. 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, organization 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. A Masters degree is preferred but we also consider candidates with Bachelor’s degrees and substantial relevant research experience.

Job responsibilities may include:

– Sourcing and curating relevant literature and research materials
– Developing literature reviews and/or annotated bibliographies
– Coding ethnographic and interview data
– Copyediting manuscripts
– Working with academic journals on themed sections
– Assisting with research project data management and event organization

The RA will also have opportunities to collaborate on ongoing projects. While publication is not a guarantee, the RA may have the opportunity to co-author papers while at MSR. The RAship will require 40 hours per week on site in Cambridge, MA. It is a 12 – 18 month contractor position. The position pays hourly with flexible daytime hours. The start date will ideally on or soon before July 1, although flexibility may be possible for the right candidate.

This position is perfect for emerging scholars planning to apply to PhD programs in Communication, Media Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Information Studies, History, Philosophy, STS and Critical Data Studies, and related fields who want to develop their research skills and area expertise 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 and training, interests, and professional goals
– CV or resume
– Writing sample (preferably a literature review or a scholarly-styled article)
– Links to public online presence (e.g., blog, homepage, Twitter, journalistic endeavors, etc.)
– The names and email addresses of two recommenders

Be sure to include your last name in file names of all documents you attach.

We will begin reviewing applications on April 15. We hope to make a hiring decision no later than early May.

We regret that because this is a time-limited contract position, we can only consider candidates who are already legally authorized to work in the United States.

Please feel free to ask questions about the position in the blog comments.



3 thoughts on “The SMC is hiring a Research Assistant in the New England lab

  1. Margo

    Hi! I’ve been excited about the possibility of this opening up since Christopher tweeted he was applying to programs. Can I ask about the pay scale and benefits?

    1. Because this is a contractor position and specifics get negotiated between employee and contracting agency, I can’t tell you exactly. What I can say is that we benchmark the pay scale against what people would be earning from a PhD research assistant stipend at the kind of university program they may enroll in (adjusted to recognize that our position is full vs half time). Contractors do receive health care benefits. Other specific benefits may vary and/or be negotiated.

Comments are closed.