CASSRC member centers and institutes give graduate students in the social sciences a number of opportunities to develop their knowledge of applied social science research methods while gaining practical experience in a real world research setting. Under the guidance of professional researchers and faculty members, graduate students will have the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom with best practices techniques that promote successful applied research. Experience with a CASSRC center/institute is especially valuable for those planning on pursuing a Ph.D. or embarking on a research career and a great way to build a resume!
Graduate Research Assistantships
Some of the centers/institutes offer Graduate Research Assistantship (GRAs) programs where graduate students work alongside our professional researchers and faculty associates learning all aspects of the research process as well as gaining valuable experience interacting with center/institute clients. GRAs typically contribute in the following ways: preparation of research proposals, judgment and decision making on research and sampling designs, conducting literature reviews, assisting in the construction of surveys, questionnaires and interviews, data entry and cleaning, and undertaking data analyses under the direction of a Research Analyst or faculty member. They also gain experience interviewing (including telephone and in-person interviews), assisting in focus groups and helping with the preparation of reports and presentations.
Work with Faculty on Projects
Many faculty members across a wide range of disciplines in the CSU are involved with CASSRC centers/institutes. Faculty members may serve as Principal Investigators on funded research projects or in a more limited way, lending their expertise to a particular part of a project. Graduate students may have an opportunity to work with a faculty member on a currently funded study as a paid researcher or for course credit. Some students have even been able to use research data collected in a center/institute project for class assignments, research papers, or their thesis.
Another opportunity for graduate students to learn about applied social science research is through part-time work at their campus CASSRC center/institute. Many centers/institutes engage in projects such as of telephone and internet surveys which go on throughout the academic year and during the summer. Centers/institutes frequently look for graduate students who have completed research methodology, statistics or qualitative analysis coursework to work on various applied research projects to help with data collection, analysis and report preparation. They also frequently seek graduate students to supervise telephone interviewing, survey mailings or data entry.
For more information on work and learning opportunities with your campus CASSRC center/institute, find your campus on the list of affiliated centers.