Thursday, January 24, 2008

What is Social Policy Research?

Wikipedia defines social policy as "guidelines for the changing, maintenance or creation of living conditions that are conducive to human welfare. [S]ocial policy is that part of public policy that has to do with social issues."

Organizations such as Social Policy Research Associates, The Urban Institute, MDRC, The Social Policy Research Institute, and numerous University-based research centers analyze public policy issues, evaluate programs, and work to inform the development of community programs. Many (if not most) social policy organizations are non-profit and nonpartisan.

They hire researchers (typically with PhDs) from a number of fields within the Social Sciences. Many organizations support and encourage their researchers in personal research projects and publications in addition to their research for the institute. Entry-level positions often fall into the category of "research assistant/associate," and involve supporting existing research projects through conducting survey research/interviews, analyzing statistical data, and assisting to prepare a project for publication.

Social policy research is an excellent option for those of you who, like me, love to research, but aren't quite so keen on teaching. There are options outside of academia!

2 comments:

Psychgrad said...

It sounds like our orientations are pretty similar.

Good luck with the GRE studying. Field Notes had some good suggestions for improving your verbal score in a post from yesterday.

Princess Pointful said...

Hi! I am a PhD student in Clinical Psychology who oddly enough does research in Social Psychology.
I'm actually headed down to the annual Society for Personality & Social Psychology convention next week!

If you are really interested in social policy research, you should join SPSSI (society for psychological study of social issues). They just started a brand new journal (got the 1st issue yesterday) about policy research. Their annual convention is in Chicago this June.

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