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Paid research assistantship available in COMM this semester

Dr. Jennifer Vardeman-Winter and Prof. Larry Kelley are looking to hire a graduate research assistant (RA) for ~10 hours per week for a project with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA). The TDHCA wants to conduct formative research with ~40 city officials across Texas to develop a primer on new housing resolutions. The work the RA completes will be given to a team of undergraduate students to graphically design the primer.

Length of the project: The project is expected to last from October until early February.

Work structure and pay: For most pieces of the project, the RA can work from home, according to her/his schedule. The RA will be paid approximately $2,700 for the length of the project, which amounts to about 180 hours total. There is a possibility to extend the project beyond the 180 hours (with pay, of course).

The RA will be tasked with:

  • Assisting Dr. V-W and Prof. Kelley with gathering, analyzing, and writing a literature review of relevant journal articles and current communication materials about fair housing practices;
  • Conducting one-on-one interviews with local city officials (e.g., judges, county commissioners, city council members) to obtain their perceptions of fair housing resolutions;
  • Coding data using a qualitative data analysis software; and
  • Writing the final report.

The RA will also be expected to:

  • Send us weekly reports of the status of her/his work;
  • Keep a weekly log of her/his time worked on the project;
  • Respond to emails about the project within 24 hours; and
  • Attend all client and team meetings (we will try to work around your class schedule).

Skills required/eligibility for the position:

  • An interest in conducting primary research;
  • Have already taken either COMM 6300 (Research Methods) or COMM 6305 (Applied Communication Techniques, aka Qualitative Research Methods);
  • Excellent written, verbal, and digital media professionalism;
  • Ability to meet deadlines and be held accountable for assigned tasks;
  • Attention to detail;
  • Ability to accept constructive criticism in order to improve skills; and
  • Cannot be working more than 15 hours within or outside the university at the same time.

The benefits of working on this project include obtaining real-world experience conducting primary communication research; making connections with policy-makers; and writing and publishing research in academic journals. This project is ideal for a student who is interested in either obtaining a Ph.D. and/or getting experience in public affairs.

If you are interested in applying to this position, please email me at with a resume, contact information for two professional references, and a sample research paper/project from undergraduate or graduate coursework. The deadline for applications is Friday, October 4, 2013.

Jennifer Vardeman-Winter, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Public relations
Affiliate Faculty Member, Women's Studies Program
Jack J. Valenti School of Communication
University of Houston
A Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university
Communication Bldg., Room 142
Phone: (713) 743-4294