University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Past Undergraduate Research Assistant Positions

Title Details
Child Policy Research Assistants Students will assist in a study of child policy in the U.S. from 1900-2015. Students will learn how to code media coverage to understand social movements that sometimes lead to policy change success and other times to failure. Once coding is complete, students will either learn data analysis and graphing using Excel or assist in archival research on the role of foundations in funding advocacy for policy change, locating historical photographs, and editing. The skills gained will be substantive knowledge of child policy, data coding, data analysis and graphing, and archival research methods. The student’s work will be acknowledged in publication credits.
Veterans Court Analyst We are going to be working as a team to attend hearings of Veterans Treatment Court in Holyoke, and code transcripts of hearings from Veterans Treatment Courts in Miami and in Holyoke. These courts connect qualifying veterans in the criminal justice system with local services to help with drug use and mental health disorders. We will be working with a graduate student researcher to identify how these courts encourage compliance with treatment protocols, and how they draw on different institutional logics (medical, penal, social welfare) in the court. This is part of a multi-year research project. Veterans and family members of veterans are encouraged to apply.
Project on Group Influence in Policy Debates Research assistants will aid in a project assessing the influence of interest groups and think tanks in policy debates. RA's will work on at least one of two tasks. First, RA's will aid in the collection of interest group and think tank publications by visiting group websites and collecting data. Second, RA's will participate in the coding (i.e. categorization) of group texts. This project will be of interest to students in public policy and American politics. There may be additional opportunities to conduct more in-depth work - including writing policy briefs for major US legislation - for advanced students.
Governing the Internet Undergraduate research assistant needed for a project on contention over  global-level governance of the Internet.  The research assistant will find and summarize basic information about inter-governmental discussions of how the Internet should be regulated occurring in UN and other multilateral forums.  Work will begin with identifying UN discussions through summaries of UN bodies' activity in the annual Yearbook of the United Nations. If there is time left over, work will extend to looking for discussion in the European Union and in regional intergovernmental organizations elsewhere. Research skills to be acquired: ability to use official yearbooks to  locate ore extended records of discussions on particular issues; familiarity with the UN’s fairly complex organizational structure and document identification system.
Content Analyst Several research assistants are needed for a project on the ideological applications and interpretations of fairness, justice, and equality by political opinion leaders in the U.S. You will be trained to classify written passages according to their uses of these concepts.
Conflict and Cooperation in the French National Assembly Research assistants will compile data and conduct analysis on roll call voting in the French National Assembly between 1871 and 1918. The goal of the project is to understand patterns of inter-party conflict and cooperation during this period. Familiarity with French is helpful but not necessary. Some experience compiling databases would also be helpful. RAs should expect to spend 6-10 hours per week during the semester, though arrangements can be made to balance this with other workload. RAs will receive training in RStudio and have opportunities to conduct follow up research on questions of interest using the data collected.
UMass Poll UMass Poll is looking for an undergraduate research assistant with an interest in polling and survey design as well as experience in web design, website building, and website maintenance. The UREP will be responsible for assisting the UMASS Poll team in designing statewide and national polls, redesigning and maintaining the UMASS Poll website, collecting media mentions of UMASS Poll, and social media outreach.
Politics & Gender Identify and summarize scholarly articles on gender differences in political and economic attitudes. Assistant(s) will identify methodological aspects of the study, such as sample and population characteristics, size of estimated gap, outcome variable, explanatory and control variables (if any)
Measurement of Ideology The research assistant(s) will examine academic articles from a provided list to determine how ideology is being measured and analyzed. They will use Google Sheets to record key information about each article.
Data collection on Supreme Court confirmation hearings I seek one or more undergraduate research assistants to assist in a series of studies that investigate what happens at U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings, including questions related to gender and racial bias at the hearings. The research assistant(s) may compile readings on gender and racial bias; collect and analyze data on the questions and answers given at the hearings; and examine newspaper and other media coverage of the hearings.
Mapping development in Guatemala I seek one research assistant who will compile data, create a network map, and conduct analysis on foreign aid, NGOs, and development organizations in Guatemala. The goal of this project is to map the current state of development and aid in Guatemala with particular attention paid to an increase in funding and projects relating to migration. Research assistants will be expected to send weekly short reports. 
Rebel and Terrorist Visual Propaganda Research assistants will work with Professor Loken on a project systematically collecting, analyzing, and coding visual rebel and terrorist images. One part of this project explores propaganda of all kinds, and another focuses specifically on gender and images featuring women. Research assistants must be proficient in Excel. Some experience compiling or working with databases would be helpful, as would experience finding and using archives, but is not required. Research assistants will learn archival research and qualitative hand- coding skills. This project will be of particular interest to students in international relations and comparative politics, however, any student with an interest in conflict and propaganda is welcome to apply. Note: some of the images are graphic and/or violent.
Investigate presidential speeches regarding Supreme Court decisions I seek one or more undergraduate research assistants to assist in a study that investigates presidential speeches regarding U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The research assistant(s) may compile readings on presidential-judicial interactions and judicial independence; collect and analyze data on the effect of these speeches; and help design a survey experiment to gauge public reactions to the speeches. This research is part of a book project that examines how presidents use public speeches to take positions on, and react to, Supreme Court decisions. 
International regimes in global issues I am looking for students to compile summaries of international regimes which govern specific global issues, such as public health, environment, migration, trade, etc. This will involve writing a number of fairly brief research reports over the semester which identify the political actors involved in the governance of specific issues, based on library research, according to a template.
No Safe Haven Project Student will assist Prof. Hamlin and Prof. Rowen on their joint project investigating the ways in which various countries implement a policy of "No Safe Haven" for suspected war criminals and human rights violators.
Categories in Crisis Student will assist Prof. Hamlin on her book project. Specific tasks will be mostly related to collecting information on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), especially their social media output.
Studying Elites I seek two or more undergraduate research assistants to help in projects related to the study of contemporary elites. The research assistant(s) will examine documents related to professional backgrounds of contemporary economic and political elites, and record this information for systematic analysis. Research assistants will learn to collect and systematically analyze data related elites and will learn the specific skills of network analysis. This project will be of particular interest to students in public policy, international relations, and economics. However any student with an interest in elites in contemporary society are encouraged to apply.