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Research Study Assistant

Chicago - Illinois (IL),

Northwestern University

Job Description:

Performs biomedical &/or social-behavioral research by administering tests &/or questionnaires following protocols; collecting, compiling, tabulating &/or processing responses; gathering information; &/or assisting in the preparation of material for inclusion in reports. Completes all activities by strictly following Good Clinical Practices (GCP) & all relevant current local, state, & federal laws, regulations, guidance, policy & procedure developed by the NU Institutional Review Board (IRB), Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), & the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH).

  • The Research Study Assistant will work on the Raising Our Children (ROC) Study and other related projects.
  • The goal of the ROC Study is to understand how parents who were incarcerated in their youth now socialize their own children to respect rules and care about others. In particular, we seek to identify the protective factors that foster successful socialization among those children. We are recruiting ~150 families with a preschooler (ages 3-6 years) from an ongoing Northwestern longitudinal study of >1,800 individuals (now adults) who were incarcerated during their adolescence.
  • The ROC study involves an in-home assessment of the preschool-aged child with his/her parent (who was previously incarcerated) and a follow-up in-home assessment of the same child with a second caregiver. We conduct (and videotape) direct observation of the child in a series of tasks, some with the parent, some without, to assess the child’s development of conscience and self-regulation, the parent/caregiver-child relationship, and parenting/caregiving strategies. We conduct an interview with the parent/second caregiver during the same home visit. We also collect information from files (police, detention facilities, hospitals, mental health service providers).
  • The Research Study Assistant’s specific responsibilities will include: conducting various assessments of preschool-aged children in the community (or in the office) with the children of formerly detained adults; assessing the home environment; coding and entering data, editing administrative forms, and attending training and office meetings as required. The individual may also be involved in editing data collection instruments, conducting literature searches, coding videotaped assessments of parents and children, and other research support activities. This would be an ideal position for an individual considering future graduate study in areas such as psychology or social work.
  • The ideal candidate will have experience conducting child assessments with at-risk populations. Experience with field work is also a plus. We are seeking an individual who is adept at following study protocols, who has good judgement and problem-solving skills, and has strong communication skills and documentation habits. The person needs to have well-developed interpersonal skills (to be able to develop good rapport with children and their parent/caregiver), and be willing to travel to Chicago neighborhoods along with their interview partner

Specific Responsibilities:


  • Recruits study participants.
  • Reviews & obtains informed consent.
  • Schedules study visits with participants.
  • Conducts interviews.
  • Scores test results.
  • Collects survey data.
  • Reviews medical records.
  • Facilitates communication with key personnel & participants to maintain project study flow.


  • Maintains detailed records of results which may include collecting, extracting & entering data; &/or preparing basic charts & graphs.
  • Performs scientific literature searches in support of research.
  • Completes portions of grant applications &/or documents associated with current local, state, & federal regulatory guidelines, requirements, laws & research protocols.


  • May process reimbursements for travel expenses.
  • Monitors & distribute petty cash.
  • Processes invoices &/or purchase requisitions.


  • May train other research staff to interview/test participants.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree in a major such as social or health science or related; OR appropriate combination of education and experience
  • Must complete NU's IRB CITI training before interacting with any participants & must re-certify every 3 years.

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

  • Experience assessing/interviewing children
  • Ability to follow study protocols

Preferred Qualifications:

  • 2 years practical research study or related experience is required.
  • Coursework in child development
  • Experience working with children under 7 years of age
  • Experience with field work

Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)

  • Experience using data capture tools such as REDCap
  • Ability administering standardized child assessments
  • Bilingual in Spanish and English is a plus

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