Senior Researcher/Principal Researcher

The Senior Researcher / Principal Researcher will lead research projects to understand the cultural mindsets that people use to understand social issues and to develop and test frames to shift thinking in ways that enable progressive change. These projects will vary by subject, but typically fall within our key issue areas (health equity, economic justice, children and families, and criminal justice).


The FrameWorks Institute is an action-oriented think tank for progressive movements.

We conduct cutting-edge social science research to understand how to change the way people think, feel, and act on social issues and partner with organizations who can use this research to build power around progressive solutions.

We believe framing is critical to changing culture and systems. We’re a team of multidisciplinary researchers and real-world change-makers who design and test framing strategies and help organizations use them to create social change.

We are looking for an experienced social science researcher excited by the opportunity to help innovate our theory, methods, and approach as we look to amplify the impact of our research and deepen our engagement with progressive organizations and movements. You should be an innovator and a leader among your peers who embraces the power of applied research in contributing to social change.

It is an exciting time to join FrameWorks. And we want you to be a part of it.

About the position: Senior Researcher / Principal  Researcher (depending on experience)

The Senior Researcher / Principal Researcher will lead research projects to understand the cultural mindsets that people use to understand social issues and to develop and test frames to shift thinking in ways that enable progressive change. These projects will vary by subject, but typically fall within our key issue areas (health equity, economic justice, children and families, and criminal justice).

The Senior Researcher / Principal Researcher will work across all the methods of Strategic Frame Analysis ®, FrameWorks’ mixed-methods approach to generating and applying innovative communications strategies. They will lead the drafting of research reports and briefs, and present research findings and recommendations to partners, funders, and general audiences.

The Principal Researcher position, as a more senior position on the team, involves mentoring and training other researchers, proposing and leading major innovations in theory and methods, and representing the organization at high-level events.

The ideal candidate will have a strong background in research on framing, cultural mindsets, and/or narrative; have experience leading collaborative research projects; have experience working with partners and building and managing those relationships; be intellectually curious, innovative, adaptable, and insightful; be knowledgeable about contemporary social movements and policy issues; and be committed to principles of inclusion and equity.

This is a full-time position based in Washington, D.C, with the possibility of remote work. There is an expectation to come to the DC office for key team meetings. All research is currently being conducted virtually, although there might occasionally be a need to travel for conferences and other events.

Key responsibilities

  • Leads projects and research design, in collaboration with managers and project team members.
  • Collaborates with project team members to ensure projects move forward.
  • Serves as a primary contact for funders and partners and manages these relationships.
  • Manages project progress and timelines. Works across methods, leading all qualitative methods, including cultural mindsets research, ensuring that all the research for projects they are leading is designed and conducted in service of project goals, and that findings are integrated across methods.
  • Leads the process of drafting research reports and briefs, in collaboration with managers and project team members.
  • Presents research findings and recommendations, and represents the organization at events with funders and key partners.
  • Proposes and leads major innovations in FrameWorks’ theory and methods. Mentors and trains other researchers. (Principal Researcher)
  • Develops new projects, including leading new business meetings and conceptualizing new scopes of work. (Principal Researcher)

Skills needed

  • Commitment to FrameWorks’ mission, including commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and ability to integrate these principles into daily work.
  • Deep understanding of key theoretical underpinnings of FrameWorks’ research and approach, such as theories of culture, framing, narrative, metaphor, and ideology.
  • Excellent qualitative research skills and ability to analyze and interpret qualitative data, including the ability to identify cultural mindsets and the cognitive effects of frames and narratives.
  • Experience with quantitative research, such as experimental surveys, and ability to understand and interpret basic statistical analysis.
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills and ability to present to audiences without social science backgrounds.
  • Exceptional organizational and time management skills; excellent strategic and practical judgment to move work forward; superior flexibility and ability to adapt to changing needs.

Experience required

The ideal candidate will possess:

  • Minimum of 7 years of combined education and professional experience in social science research (relevant disciplines include anthropology, sociology, linguistics, psychology, cognitive science, political science, and communications), with at least 5 of those years above the undergraduate level, for the Senior Researcher position; Minimum of 9 years combined education and professional experience (at least 7 years above undergraduate level) for the Principal Researcher position
  • 3-5 years of experience leading projects in a collaborative research setting,  preferably including 2 or more years’ experience in applied research outside academia
  • Experience working in the fields of economic justice, health equity, children and families, and/or criminal justice is a plus
  • Demonstrated experience integrating principles of equity, justice, and inclusion into daily work
  • Experience working collaboratively on a diverse team
  • Demonstrated success in managing relationships with partners, coalition members, or clients, preferably in a nonprofit or movement setting (Principal Researcher)


Starting salary of $80,000,  depending on experience, for Senior Researcher

Starting salary of $100,000, depending on experience, for Principal Researcher

Key benefits include 4 weeks paid vacation leave per year; 21 days of holiday leave (including the week between Christmas and New Years and 4 days of holiday during summer months); paid sick leave and personal leave; 403(b) retirement plan; 100% employer-paid health insurance (medical, dental, vision); life and disability insurance; flexible spending plan; cell phone and internet reimbursement, and professional development funding.

To apply

Please submit the following materials to, using the subject header line  Senior Researcher / Principal Researcher 2023:

  • Resume or CV with relevant employment history and educational background
  • Cover letter explaining your interest in the position, its relevance to your career goals and past experience, and where and how equity and social justice fit into your professional and/or academic experiences
  • Up to two writing samples, preferably in a mix of styles and genres, and for a range of audiences

Review of all applications will begin immediately and continue until the search process concludes. Please check FrameWorks’ website ( to ensure that the position is still available before applying. No solicitations, please.

FrameWorks Institute is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Interested individuals who are BIPOC, women, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQIA+ are strongly encouraged to apply.

About FrameWorks

The FrameWorks Institute is a nonprofit think tank that helps mission-driven organizations communicate in ways that build public will to support progressive change.

It applies rigorous social science methods to study how people understand social issues and develops evidence-based techniques for explaining those issues more effectively. Since 1999, it has conducted pioneering research on effectively communicating a wide variety of scientific and social issues, such as early childhood development, climate change and immigration.

In 2015, it was named one of nine organizations worldwide to receive the MacArthur Foundation’s Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Learn more at

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