Social Science Researcher, Senior Manager

  • Polaris
  • Washington D.C., DC, USA
  • Oct 18, 2022
Full-time Analytics Data Analysis Data Collection Data Engineering Data Reporting Data Science Qualitative Quantitative Research Statistics

Job Description

Position: Social Science Researcher, Senior Manager
Department: Learning, Innovation, and Data Systems
FLSA Status: Full-time, Exempt
Reports to: Director, Learning, Innovation and Data Systems
Direct Reports: None
Location: Washington DC
Date Issued: September 23, 2022

About Program

Named after the North Star, an historical symbol of freedom, Polaris works to reshape the systems that make sex and labor trafficking possible and profitable in North America. For more than a decade, Polaris has assisted thousands of victims and survivors through the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline and built the largest known U.S. data set on the crime. With the guidance of survivors and working with public and private-sector partners, we use that data to understand and improve the way trafficking is identified, how victims and survivors are assisted, and how we can prevent this abuse at the scale of the problem - 25 million people worldwide robbed of the basic right to choose how they live and work.

The Learning, Innovation, and Data Systems team has the exciting task of utilizing research and data to inform and guide our approach to the fight against human trafficking with the ultimate end goal of eradicating the crime of modern-day slavery.

About Opportunity

The Social Science Researcher is a highly self-motivated, creative, and methodical professional. The Researcher will lead and support a range of research and data analysis efforts by developing evidence-based products to inform Polaris’ program and advocacy strategies.

A successful candidate will be a creative and critical thinker who approaches research and analysis with a strategic lens and can process diverse sources of information using scientifically rigorous methods. This individual should have excellent written and verbal communication skills and strong facilitation skills in order to develop useful products by engaging with data users and data producers. S/he should excel at producing high-quality written products in short time frames.


  • Design and implement data for policy and practice research projects to address program leadership and executive staff questions and to inform program and advocacy efforts;
  • Conduct research studies across various Polaris program areas using various designs, including operational or secondary data analysis, experimental and quasi-experimental evaluations, mixed-methods studies, and cost-benefit analyses;
  • Utilize appropriate social science research methods (advanced statistical analysis, social network analysis, grounded theory, etc.) to analyze data from various sources, including the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Polaris’s National Survivor Study, and other primary and secondary data sources;
  • Support or lead qualitative and quantitative data collection in support of research and evaluation efforts, including drafting data collection instruments and consent processes and coordinating logistics for surveys, interviews, focus groups, and other data collection activities;
  • Write technical reports, peer-reviewed journal articles, policy briefs, and other materials as needed to meet programmatic needs and project and grant requirements;
  • Partner with the Communications team to ensure that accurate and compelling program data is integrated into key communications messages;
  • Liaison to research consultants as appropriate; 
  • Participate in the onboarding and training of staff as needed; 
  • Commitment to the National Human Trafficking Hotline mission and Polaris values;  and
  • Assist with other duties related to the work of the team as needed. 


Required Qualifications

  • Deep passion! Mad skills! Low ego!
  • Minimum seven (7) years of progressively responsible professional work experience in social science research projects;
  • BA/BS degree with a focus on Social Science, Statistics, Economics, or a related field;
  • Experience in leading the design and implementation of data analysis projects;
  • Demonstrated technical expertise in quantitative and qualitative research designs, tool development, validation, and data analysis; 
  • Advanced statistical analysis experience (using software such as SAS is a plus);
  • Proven ability in writing a variety of evidence-based products for different types of audiences;
  • Demonstrated project management experience; 
  • Skilled in group facilitation and multi-stakeholder engagement processes, as well as in teaching or training;
  • A self-starter with highly versatile and strong problem-solving skills combined with a track record of pivoting in response to opportunities and challenges;
  • High tolerance for ambiguity, ability to adapt to changing priorities, strategic frameworks, and definitions of success; and
  • Emotional maturity and demonstrated discretion in handling sensitive and confidential information. 

Preferred Qualifications

  • Academic or professional knowledge of human trafficking, labor rights, or related social issues; 
  • Direct experience conducting qualitative research with vulnerable populations and/or survivors of trauma; 
  • Qualitative analysis (using computer-assisted data analysis is a plus)  
  • Experience in measurement in human trafficking, labor migration, domestic violence or comparable fields; 
  • Master's degree in a relevant field; and
  • Spanish language fluency.

Working Conditions:

  • Typical office setting 
  • Up to 20% of domestic travel 

Physical Requirements:

  • Prolonged sitting, chiefly at a computer terminal;
  • Occasional bending, stooping, and stretching;
  • Requires hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity sufficient to operate a computer, and other office equipment;

Organization Background 

VALUES: Polaris is grounded in a set of values and organizational beliefs and strives to model and embody these values in all that it does. 

We work with humility and a spirit of service. We serve a mission that is bigger than ourselves, and we recognize that we cannot do this work alone. We foster a caring community of mutual support, and we actively pursue collaborations and partnerships to expand our reach. 

Victims’ and survivors’ experiences ground our efforts. We honor the dignity, agency, and resilience of victims and survivors of slavery, both past and present. We serve, work alongside, and stand in solidarity with those who have been most affected by modern slavery. 

We strive for inclusion and equity. We engage different perspectives to inform our decisions, actions, and positions. We create opportunities that empower individuals of diverse backgrounds and circumstances. We acknowledge the structural inequities that lead to human trafficking and modern slavery, which drives us to create just and equitable solutions. 

We approach our work with courage. We promote a culture of inquiry, innovation, risk-taking, and continuous learning. We are resilient and evolve when faced with obstacles or failure. We recognize that what is typical or traditional is not always optimal. 

We create positive impact and achieve results. We leverage and cultivate the strengths of our staff, and we work with discipline, integrity, and a commitment to excellence. We embrace a measurement culture to track our progress. We view impact holistically, considering multiple sectors and the effects on individuals’ lives, as we pursue systemic and social change to eradicate modern slavery.


Polaris designs and implements data-driven strategies to prevent and disrupt human trafficking, and restore freedom to survivors.  Achieving this ambitious goal requires both trafficking-specific systemic interventions and broader cultural and structural shifts that reduce the inequities that lead to human trafficking. While Polaris alone cannot build a more diverse, just, equitable, and inclusive society, both the success of our work and our organizational values require modeling in the workplace the change we want to see in the world.

This means cultivating a workforce, organizational culture, and priorities that respect and celebrate a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team made up of individuals with different identities, lived experiences, and backgrounds. Within both our team and across every part of our work, we strive to integrate and elevate the full range of survivor voices.

This is a living commitment.  Diversity, equity, and inclusion are values to be manifested daily, in the work we do, the decisions we make, and the way that we treat each other and the people we seek to serve.  This means creating space where staff can be included, heard, valued, and set up for success, and where everyone feels empowered to bring their full, best selves to work. We will not check boxes and consider it done. We will push new innovations and different ways of thinking, and treasure the community built and strengthened by each of our contributions.