Applied Research Analyst

  • San Diego Association of Governments - SANDAG
  • San Diego, CA, USA
Full Time Research

Job Description

Applied Research Division

The SANDAG Applied Research Division provides technical support to the region’s policymakers, agency leaders, and service providers by evaluating data and making recommendations that lead to informed decisions and increased program effectiveness. Examples of recent and upcoming projects include evaluations of services provided to ex-offenders that lead to lower rates of recidivism; an analysis of employment centers around the region and the implication of those clusters to regional planning; needs assessments and data collection to inform and document community development efforts; and evaluating national crime prevention practices. Results of such research studies and evaluations are shared with decision-makers, member agencies, and stakeholders on a regular basis and lead to more informed decisions about investments in funding, resources, and programs that will have the greatest positive impact on the San Diego region.

Research Analyst Role

The Research Analyst will assist with the design, implementation, tracking, and analysis of various studies and efforts that support a broad range of regional projects, programs, and policy initiatives. Responsibilities include providing quality control review for data and tools, providing technical support for data management and analysis for large data sets, including data cleaning, data manipulation, data analysis, preparing written and visual reports, and tracking department data requests.

Job Responsibilities

This position is ideal for an entry-level research professional with a strong interest in furthering their expertise in the application of research methods for public policy decision-making. We anticipate career development will occur while completing the types of duties and responsibilities described below and through mentoring and close collaboration with senior staff. Examples of primary responsibilities include:

  • Participate in the development of research methodologies designed to assess the feasibility of policy alternatives, or measure the effectiveness of programs and services in areas such as criminal justice, public safety, public health, and transportation planning.
  • Participate in the maintenance, management, and documentation of comprehensive computerized databases in SPSS, Excel, Access, R, and SQL Server formats; mine databases for analysis and reporting purposes.
  • Provide quality control and review of agency data and other tools to ensure accuracy; document data issues to ensure validity and reliability of data.
  • Assist in the tracking of department data requests, including standardizing protocols and summarizing statistics.
  • Research, identify, gather, compile, and analyze various types of demographic, criminal, economic, social, public health, geographic, transportation, and other quantitative data from interviews, surveys, various local, state, and federal agencies, the Internet, government publications, and other sources; extract data from databases demonstrating an understanding of issues that could affect the validity and reliability of information.
  • Code data for computer input; enter data and update files as required; review data for quality and accuracy and resolve data inconsistencies; maintain data documentation.
  • Develop productive working relationships with other agencies and collaborate with the staff of outside agencies to coordinate tasks and accomplish project goals; respond to requests for data from member agencies, grant agencies, and the public.
  • Assist with the preparation of project reports, technical documentation, and written, oral, and visual reports and recommendations to committees, funding/grant agencies, member agencies, community groups, and members of the public; prepare tables, graphs, and charts to display information for written reports and presentations.
  • Participate in the review and quality control of reports and other products; assist in coordinating the regional distribution of reports.

Experience and Qualifications

Numerous factors contribute to an individual’s ability to be successful in any given role. For this position, we are searching for a candidate with an aptitude for analytical thinking and problem solving, who is detail-oriented, organized, flexible, and can be relied upon to meet deadlines while working on multiple projects. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, the ability to work collaboratively, strong research and analytical capabilities, dynamic interpersonal skills, and the use of sound judgment are important.

The minimum education, training, and experience qualifications include a bachelor’s degree with major course work in public or business administration, sociology, demography, computer science, statistics, data management, economics, research, or a related field, and one to two years of recent data collection, data analysis, and/or research experience.

The following information describes the specific types of career experiences that are most relevant to this position:

  • Knowledge of and experience with fundamental applied research principles and methods including evaluation studies, performance measures, data compilation, and data analysis.
  • Knowledge of data acquisition and quality control methods used for gathering and compiling various types of information; knowledge of factors that contribute to the reliability and integrity of compiled data.
  • Experience updating and maintaining project databases, files, and records, including data documentation.
  • Ability to independently compile and document data with speed and accuracy; ability to identify and resolve data inconsistencies and other problems; experience compiling and manipulating data for large databases preferably using SPSS, SQL, and R.
  • Strong computer skills and proficiency with the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office applications especially Word, and Excel; experience with relational database management (Power BI and SQL Server), statistical analysis (SPSS), and presentation software (PowerPoint).
  • Experience assisting with writing and preparing reports that document research procedures and present research results and recommendations including the preparation, analysis, and interpretation of charts and tables.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the need to maintain confidentiality and act with diplomacy when working with personal records, documents, and other sensitive information and materials.
  • Effective time management and organizational skills and the ability to prioritize multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment.
  • The final candidate selected for this position must successfully pass a pre-employment criminal background check in compliance with the FBI and the California Department of Justice (CalDOJ) requirements regarding the use of the California Law Enforcement Telecommunication System (CLETS). Depending on the projects assigned to this position, the candidate may be required to undergo Tuberculosis (TB) testing. Periodic re-checking of criminal background history and TB testing will be a condition of employment.
  • The selected candidate can anticipate a driving record check upon hire, and approximately annually thereafter. The results of the check may determine whether the selected candidate will be permitted to drive for SANDAG business.

Salary and Benefits

SANDAG rewards the efforts of its employees with a comprehensive compensation package. Competitive salaries are supplemented with a flexible offering of health, financial security, and time-off benefits to meet the work and life needs of employees and their families.

This Research Analyst position will be filled at the I or II level depending on qualifications and experience of the selected candidate. Positions at the Analyst I and II level are considered entry-level with job duties primarily related to learning and supporting research activities. The annual salary ranges are: Analyst I - $48,522 to $77,635 per year; Analyst II - $53,496 to $85,593 per year.

Our benefits include traditional health, dental, and vision insurance as well as employee assistance, wellness, and work/life balance programs. Retirement and financial security benefits are provided through a pension plan and deferred compensation program. To support the need to rest and rejuvenate, SANDAG offers flexible work schedules and employees are provided with a bank of paid time off in addition to paid holidays.

How to Apply

We encourage all interested candidates to apply for this position by completing a SANDAG Employment Application form. Resumes, cover letters, and work samples may be submitted in addition to the Employment Application but are not a substitute for this document.

The Employment Application can be downloaded in PDF format from the SANDAG website. Alternatively, a copy can be requested by calling (619) 699-1900 or emailing Completed applications and related materials can be submitted via email, fax, regular mail, courier, or delivered by hand. See our Careers / How to Apply webpage for additional information.

This position is Open until Filled. The first review of applications will begin on Friday, June 21, 2019.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), SANDAG will accommodate persons who require assistance in order to apply for a position at SANDAG. Applicants requiring an accommodation due to a disability during any stage of the recruitment and selection process, including requesting this document and related application materials in an alternative format, should make their needs known by contacting Human Resources at (619) 699-1900, (619) 699-1904 (TTY), fax (619) 699-6905, or

Application Supplement

To help us further evaluate the skills and experience of individuals interested in this position, applicants are asked to respond to the Supplemental Questions below. The information can be up to 500 words per question and should be submitted with the Employment Application. This is considered a required component of the application; applications received without a response will be screened out of the selection process.

Supplemental Questions

  1. Please describe your experience quality controlling data and how you have used computer programs to ensure the validity and reliability of the data you have compiled or analyzed?
  2. What part of the research process are you stronger at and enjoy the most? What part do you enjoy the least?

Candidate Selection and Notification

Following the first review date for applications, all candidates will receive written confirmation that their application was received. The hiring manager will begin reviewing and evaluating applications within a few days of the close date. The best qualified candidates will be invited to continue in the selection process. All candidates will receive written notification as to the final outcome of their application.

Further Information

The SANDAG website contains a wealth of information about our various project and program areas. The Careers section of the site lists all of our current Job Openings as well as information on how to apply for positions and Frequently Asked Questions about our recruitment process.

In compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, applicants hired by SANDAG must show acceptable proof of identity and evidence of authorization to work in the United States.

SANDAG is an Equal Opportunity Employer


Business Analysis, Database Administration

Education Requirements

Bachelor's Degree


Analyst I - $48,522 to $77,635 per year; Analyst II - $53,496 to $85,593 per year.