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Research Scientist I/Research Scientist II

Child Trends
Bethesda, MD
  • Posted: over a month ago
  • $114,000 to $126,000 Yearly
  • Full-Time
Job Description

Child Trends’ Youth Development team is currently seeking a Research Scientist who will be involved in planning and executing research, evaluation, and technical assistance projects and proposals that use participatory research methods, such as youth participatory action research (YPAR), community-based participatory research, research-practice partnerships, and participatory evaluation. Successful candidates must have experience partnering with youth, community, policy, and/or practitioner audiences in research and evaluation studies.

This position will support our growing research portfolio that aims to co-create practice and policy recommendations with youth and community members for making youth-serving systems less harmful and more fair, equitable, and beneficial to youth, young adults, families, and communities. Our team’s current participatory research portfolio focuses on the prevention of community violence (including firearm violence), juvenile justice system transformation, and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline. Therefore, qualified candidates will also bring subject-matter expertise on topics related to violence prevention, juvenile justice system transformation, and school climate.

Work in this area will also include racial and ethnic equity, positive youth development, and the translation of research to practice and policy, thus successful candidates will be able to understand and apply an equity and positive youth development lens through all elements of their work.

Potential Duties and Responsibilities:

Responsibilities of a Research Scientist include:

  • Serving in a leadership role (e.g., task lead, principal investigator, or project director) for participatory action research, evaluation, or technical assistance projects related to violence prevention, juvenile justice system transformation, school climate, and community-centered prevention and intervention.
  • Conducting research projects that incorporate participatory action research and/or youth-adult research partnerships.
  • Collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Overseeing data collection and analysis by other staff members and other research partners and performing various quality assurance activities.
  • Supporting the development and management of partnerships with state or local government agencies, schools, education agencies, community partners, or other youth-serving organizations.
  • Providing technical assistance and capacity building for youth researchers, community members, and youth-serving professionals.
  • Helping build a line of work within the organization, by leading/co-leading proposals.
  • Contributing to the interpretation of findings from policy, program, and community perspectives.
  • Communicating study results to various audiences (e.g., policymakers, researchers, practitioners, advocates, youth) in multiple formats (e.g., brief, webinar, fact sheet, journal article).


  • Ph.D. or equivalent in a related field (e.g., education, psychology, human development, criminology, sociology, public health). 3-5 years of additional relevant work experience is strongly preferred for Research Scientist II role.
  • Deep familiarity with collaborative research methodologies, including participatory action research, community-based participatory research, and/or research-practice partnerships. Candidates without a demonstrated experience in at least one participatory research method will not be considered.
  • Track record of working with youth, community members, organizations, agencies, or other youth-serving institutions in research, evaluation, or technical assistance activities that aim to advance social justice.
  • Subject matter expertise on juvenile justice transformation, violence prevention, school climate, racial and ethnic equity, positive youth development, and/or community engagement.
  • Commitment to applying an equity lens throughout all work and engaging in shared methods of knowledge production, social justice, and collaborative community-building.
  • Experience designing and implementing various research methodologies and designs, particularly qualitative methodologies.
  • Expertise in analyzing and presenting qualitative data.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage research projects effectively.
  • Experience with and/or understanding of the juvenile legal system and its interaction with the education system, highly desirable.
  • Excellent oral and written communication and prior experience translating research findings for audiences without formal training in social science research methods.

Locations: Flexible Remote Work; Child Trends’ offices are based in Bethesda, MD; Chapel Hill, NC; Minneapolis, MN. Many Child Trends staff work remotely, and while we are set up to hire remote staff in many states, we are not yet operating everywhere in the US and do not have any overseas operations. We are currently approved to hire full-time staff in AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OK, OR, PA, RI, TN, TX, VT, VA, WV, and WI. The organization will require time to assess additional set up requirements (e.g., employment and tax law) for locations outside of areas where we are currently approved to hire. Individuals who would like to work from areas outside of the currently approved states, if offered the position should indicate this preference as early as possible in the application process.

For all full-time and part-time employees who work a minimum of 20 hours per week, we offer generous vacation + sick leave + paid holidays; optional individual/domestic partner/family medical, dental and vision benefits effective first day of employment; optional pet benefits; pre-tax reimbursement funds (FSA, HSA, Commuter); life insurance; short/long term disability, basic life and AD&D coverage paid for by Child Trends; paid family leave; paid bereavement leave; professional development and tuition reimbursement allowance; and 403(b) retirement plan with immediate vesting and Child Trends contributions after 1 year of employment. To learn more, go to and click "View Summary of Benefits."

How to Apply:
Please follow the “apply” link to submit your application. When asked by the system to upload resume, please upload one document that includes your resume, cover letter, transcripts, a writing sample and contact information for three professional references. Materials must be combined into one document in order to be uploaded. If you have any difficulties with this process please email the requested materials to recruitment(at) and make sure to reference the position in the subject line. No phone calls please!

Child Trends is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center headquartered in Bethesda, MD with more than 200 staff in over 28 states that provides valuable information and insights on the well-being of children, youth, and their families. For more than 40 years, policymakers, funders, educators, and service providers in the U.S. have relied on our data and analyses to make better decisions and policies on programs serving children, families, and youth. 

Child Trends is committed to hiring, retaining, and promoting staff who bring a rich diversity of experience to support our mission of improving the lives and prospects of children and youth, especially those made most vulnerable by the effects of historical and ongoing systemic discrimination. Together, we envision a world in which a child’s race, ethnicity, family income, gender, sexual orientation, disability status or any other social identity does not determine how that child will fare in life. Therefore, we approach every aspect of our work with these ideals in mind and encourage professionals who share in our commitment to apply.   

Child Trends is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. Protected veterans and individuals with disability encouraged to apply.

Child Trends


Bethesda, MD
20814 USA



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