Research Assistant, Emergency Management and/or Economic Development Policy

The Congressional Research Service
Washington, DC
Date Posted:  August 21, 2023
Closing Date:  September 20, 2023

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) Government and Finance (G&F) Division seeks a Research Assistant to support research tasks pertaining to federal emergency management and economic development policy.

The Research Assistant (RA) provides research support for a broad range of government and finance issues, including: (1) disaster response and recovery issues, especially as they relate to government spending and equity; (2) community resilience, including FEMA’s grant programs; (3) risk management, including hazard mitigation and insurance; (4) economic development, especially as it pertains to local or regional initiatives to assist low- and moderate-income populations; and (5) small business development.

The RA will join G&F’s Federalism and Emergency Management section to support objective, authoritative public policy analysis, research, and consultation to congressional committees, Members and staff by assisting CRS analysts and specialists preparing objective, non-partisan analytical studies and descriptive reports on nationally significant public policy issues; assisting CRS analysts and specialists providing personal assistance to Members and staff on public policy issues throughout the legislative process; and participating in multi-disciplinary research projects and seminars.

Candidates should have interest in one or more emergency management and economic development issues or program areas, familiarity with research processes, and knowledge of the research materials and tools used in legislative and/or social science research. Candidates must be able to work as part of a collaborative team and must exhibit intellectual flexibility and broad research skills that facilitate effective work across a wide spectrum of economic development and emergency management issues. Illustrative programs of study include economics, demography, sociology and other social sciences and public policy. Experience with computer programming and/or data analysis, particularly as applied to social science or public policy, is desirable but not required.

CRS works exclusively for the United States Congress, providing policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS is a valued and respected resource on Capitol Hill.

CRS is well known for analysis that is authoritative, confidential, objective and nonpartisan. Its highest priority is to ensure that Congress has immediate access to the nation’s best thinking on public policy issues of interest to its Members and Committees.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce that ensures the Service is well positioned to anticipate and meet the information and analytical research needs of a 21st-century Congress.

Research assistant duties include:

• Reviewing and evaluating journal articles, agency documents, and other analyses for authoritativeness, relevance, and currency. Preparing abstracts of these materials, summarizing their key findings, methodologies employed, and other relevant information.
• Collaborating on group research projects, particularly through research and data analysis for analytical and descriptive publications or components. Illustrative tasks might include: tracking congressional hearings and bills in specific areas; culling, synthesizing, and tracking state policies; fact checking and other quality control; building and maintaining a database of (specific) program authorizations and appropriations; and, for active legislation, developing and managing a database of amendments and conference documents.
• Preparing materials for use at consultations, briefings, and seminars for congressional clients. Attending consultations, briefings, seminars, and outreach activities to gain familiarity with CRS’s information and analytic capabilities, recording questions, gauging audience engagement, and capturing audience suggestions for future sessions.
• Creating and populating databases and spreadsheets, reformatting and standardizing data from different sources, and performing data input, calculations, and analysis. Training colleagues and/or instructing staff on the content, nature, and use of division data resources.
• Formatting a range of tables, graphs, images, and other insertions to CRS products, reviewing and verifying this content for accuracy and completeness. Updating statistics in CRS reports or other general distribution products. Recommending quality control procedures and making suggestions to improve and enhance these insertions to CRS products.
• Locating, extracting, collecting, and/or compiling quantitative data and other information; evaluating data for accuracy, relevance, authoritativeness, and usefulness; in some cases, cleaning and manipulating quantitative data using Excel or via programming using software such as Stata, SAS and R.