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Researcher to Enable Connected Learning, Data & Society Research Institute

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The Data & Society Research Institute is looking to hire a researcher who can help design and execute a research agenda to enable connected learning.  Full job description available here:

Data & Society is a New York City-based research institute dedicated to addressing social, technical, ethical, legal, and policy issues that are emerging because of data-centric technological development. D&S brings together researchers, entrepreneurs, activists, policy creators, journalists, geeks, and public intellectuals to gather, debate, and engage one another on the key issues introduced by the increasing availability of data in society.

The Enabling Connected Learning Initiative

Enabling Connected Learning is a new Data & Society initiative, spearheaded by our founder, danah boyd, and supported through a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The goal of the project is to better understand the relationship between U.S. governmental policy, technology development, and innovative learning and education initiatives. This project recognizes the importance and goals of connected learning  an educational approach designed to leverage technology and learner-driven interests to enable learning. This project is also seeking to enable the cities of learning movement in order to create bridges between different learning environments, all with the learner at the center.  

Federal and state policies focused on children, education, and technology shape what learning initiatives are possible.  Privacy, safety, and security all shape the trustworthiness of different digital platforms and learning ecosystems, even as data can be used to enable new forms of learning and new opportunities for advancing education.  While these issues are publicly debated and politically fraught, research to ground these conversations is limited. The goal of this project is to better understand exactly how existing and proposed policies affect connected learning initiatives.

Job Description

We are seeking either a full-time or part-time researcher to help drive the research components of this project. Start date is negotiable and the appointment is for two years (with renewal possibilities). Applicants should have a PhD in a social science or related field or significant experience doing similar types of research. Applicants may be postdocs or more advanced researchers. This is a fully funded position with benefits and vacation; salary is dependent on experience. The appointment requires residency in New York. Travel may be necessary, both for conducting the research and for disseminating findings.

This project will involve qualitative interviewing and may also involve content analysis, policy analysis, and survey work depending on the questions that emerge from the initial research. The researcher would work as a part of a research team, collaborating with danah and with other research assistants and researchers.  Core findings from the work will be published through white papers and in public-facing venues but researchers are also encouraged to publish scholarly contributions in peer-reviewed venues. 

This position is ideal for a qualitative researcher who is seeking to do impact-oriented research at the intersection of education and learning, policy, and technology; to be a part of a research team; and to be situated in a community of researchers all looking to understand the intersection of technology and society. While researchers are also encouraged to pursue their own research agenda during this appointment, executing this project must take priority.


  • PhD in social science or related field, or equivalent research experience
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills
  • Demonstrated interest and knowledge in qualitative methodology and some combination of education/learning, technology, and policy
  • Curious and collaborative self-starter who can help drive a project forward (usually involves herding cats)
  • Knowledge of some combination of: education/technology policy, education technologies, digital media & learning initiatives, and/or education practices is a plus


To apply, please send an email to danah boyd at with the subject “Connected Learning Application” and include the following attachments:

  • One-page, single-spaced personal statement, including a description of research experience, interests, and professional goals
  • CV or resume
  • Writing sample (preferably a journal article or equivalent research document)
  • Links to online presence (e.g., blog, homepage, Twitter, journalistic endeavors, etc.)
  • The names and email addresses of two recommenders
  • A cover letter that includes citizenship/legal residency status, current city of residence, available start date, and any other practical consideration that may be important for us to know

We will begin reviewing applications immediately and will continue to do so until we find the right researcher. Please contact us should you have any questions about the position. Questions about the opportunity or process will not reflect negatively on your application.

The work and well-being of the Data & Society Research Institute is strengthened by the diversity of our network and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and much more. We welcome applications from people of color, women, the LGBTQIA community, and persons with disabilities. 

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2 Responses to Researcher to Enable Connected Learning, Data & Society Research Institute

  1. Katina Rogers (she/her) November 20, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    Hi there, you’ll want to ask the people at Data & Society about specific details. We simply wanted to spread the word about this opportunity.

  2. Bill Benzon November 19, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    Is the residency requirement a matter of legal residence in New York City or is it simply a matter of physical proximity? That is, could someone commute to the job from Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken etc.

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