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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 502G
Category: Science & Engineering


Independently serves as the project leader or the senior investigator of either: (a) a complex research study of substantial size (e.g., three or more professional-level research participants); or (b) a study of substantial impact (e.g., regulatory or directing function over State research contracts or research personnel in other State agencies).

Distinguishing Characteristics

In addition to that specified for the Research Investigator 1 and 2 levels, positions are characterized by the following:

(1)        Such research work requires indepth and specialized subject-matter expertise obtained through specialized training and job experience.  As such, positions function as technical advisors to other research personnel (including Research Investigators) on specific project subject-matter questions.

(2)        Positions translate project theory into working hypotheses which, in turn, are used to define research questions.

(3)        In addition to (2) above, positions define project scope, goals, objectives, methods and plans; later may adapt such as indicated to new program changes.

(4)        If functioning as a senior investigator, usually directs the work of at least one of the professional-level persons working on the project.

Typical Work

Initiates and designs methodologically sound studies of an analytic character, i.e., if in a juvenile diagnostic setting, may determine the worthwhileness of current diagnostic program by randomly assigning juveniles to two or more groups varying the diagnostic procedure for each group and following the career of the juvenile to determine the impact of such variation of his/her rehabilitation; concomitantly studying costs of each procedure and report in terms of cost effectiveness plus rehabilitative outcome; may develop techniques and methods for study of the passage of certain chemicals across the blood-brain barrier; directs major demographic forecasts;

Determines basic research programs for the agency or department; selects research problems for pilot studies; develops statistical research plans for basic research projects and for evaluating program effectiveness; develops statistical sampling procedures used in conjunction with research designs and sample surveys;

Prepares applications for research grants after determining where to obtain financing, cost of research, necessary personnel, and availability of resources for special studies;

Provides research and statistical service on a consulting basis by conferring with management and operating officials on the application of statistical techniques of sampling and analysis to problems in the department;

Evaluates research data using sophisticated statistical techniques, i.e., parameter and nonparameter statistics and sampling techniques such as analysis of variance and covariance, factor analysis, Whitney "U", etc.;

Writes journal articles based upon research studies;

Supervises research personnel serving on the research team;

Serves as consultant and resource person to clinical personnel conducting part- time studies; provides information and solutions regarding problems in design, methodology, statistical analyses, etc.;

Performs other work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: the body of knowledge in his/her specialty, experimental research methods and designs appropriate to his/her field, thorough knowledge of statistical theory, techniques; tests of hypotheses; agency objectives and programs.

Ability to: initiate and plan independent experimental research; coordinate his/her research with the needs of the agency or department; develop methods of data collection and interpret data; speak and write effectively; supervise others.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Desirable Qualifications

A Ph.D. in one of the physical, biological, social, behavioral or health-related sciences; and two years' experience equivalent to a Research Investigator.


Two years as a Research Investigator with at least one year at the Research Investigator 2 level.


A Master's degree in one of the above fields and four years' experience in experimental or analytical research in a public agency, public or private research corporation, nonprofit research corporation or university research center.  A minimum of three years' experience will be credited only if performed at the Research Investigator or equivalent level; the remaining one year of experience will be credited only if at the Research Analyst 3 or equivalent level.

Candidates, having met one of the criteria mentioned above, and having authored or co-authored at least 3 published articles not relating to a Master’s thesis are preferred.

Class Specification History

New class (replacing existing Research Investigator 3 and 4, codes 0428 and 0429; and existing Research Scientist, code 0469): 1-15-82
New class code: (formerly 04170) effective July 1, 2007
(06/26/2008) General language revision to Desirable Qualifications, last paragraph. Last paragraph former language reads: In all instances, candidates must have had at least three articles (not necessarily as sole author) either published or in press, i.e., definitely accepted. These articles may not be the publication of a Master's thesis.