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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 502F
Category: Science & Engineering


Conducts advanced research studies in a variety of one or more disciplines including physical, biological, social, behavioral or health-related sciences.

Distinguishing Characteristics

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

(1)    Serves as principal researcher with full responsibility for multiple-issue research projects, or for a segment of a large project; or as a researcher with specialized knowledge serving a single program. 

(2)    Design methodology; select appropriate descriptive and analytical procedures; implement applicable study processes; write final reports; recommend policy options.

(3)    May direct work of other professional research personnel.

Typical Work

Initiates and designs research studies which are essential to the achievement of agency goals or evaluation of programs; i.e., may develop new methods of vocational training and design study intended to assess worthwhileness; may develop schedule of reinforcement for desired behaviors and evaluate obtained results against results of a control group not subjected to reinforcement schedules; may develop research strategy for major demographic forecasts (e.g., criminal justice);

In an agency, serves as a resource person for clinical personnel doing part-time research and assist with problems in regard to design, methodology, and statistical analyses;

Performs or directs research over statistical analyses of data such as analysis of covariance, analysis of variance, independent and correlated t; various kinds of correlations, etc.;

Designs methodologically sound analytic studies, supervises research aides and others who are part of his/her team;

Consults with administrative and service staff in the assigned agency concerning the overall planning and theory necessary to conduct successful research within the agency;

Handles problems with budget, personnel, purchasing, etc.;

May supervise professional or technical personnel;

Performs other work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: the body of knowledge in his/her specialty; experimental research designs appropriate to his/her field; knowledge of statistical and research theory and techniques.

Ability to: initiate, plan and design independent experimental research; coordinate assigned research with the needs of the Department; develop methods of data collections and interpret data; speak and write effectively.

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. degree in one of the physical, biological, social, behavioral, or health-related sciences; and one year of experience equivalent to Research Investigator.


One year as a Research Investigator 1.


A Master's degree in one of the above fields and three years' experience in experimental or analytical research in a public agency, public or private research corporation, nonprofit research corporation, or university research center.  Experience as a researcher or graduate research assistant will be credited only if performed equivalent to two years as a Research Investigator and one year as a Research Analyst 3.

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 2, code 0426): 1-15-82
New class code: (formerly 04160) 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.