School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University - Quantitative data analyst - resource statistical and/or library science

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Job description

SRES is looking for a skilled quantitative analyst in one or both of bibliometric/scientometric methods or statistics to assist with SSHRC-funded projects within the research lab of Dr. Kate Sherren ( Dr. Sherren’s lab explores the social and landscape issues associated with sustainability transitions, including in agricultural, energy, coastal and urban systems. The successful applicant will glean insights from secondary datasets, rather than generating new data, to contribute to projects about sustainable grazing and renewable energy transitions (though additional topics as listed above are also possible over the 6-month term). Example datasets and analyses include: a) inferential statistical analysis of a large-scale social survey; and/or b) systematic reviews and bibliometrics of specific corpora of scientific literature. The successful applicant will become a co-author on associated peer-reviewed publications, and have the opportunity to lead such publications if they demonstrate the capacity and have the inclination. They may also provide quantitative methods advice and support within their domain of expertise to other members of Dr. Sherren’s lab, including postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and Masters students.

Required qualifications

Completed Master’s in Library/Information Science, Statistics, Information Technology, Computer Science, Quantitative Social Science (e.g. Sociology, Rural Sociology), Conservation Social Science, Social/Environmental Psychology or other landscape-related program (e.g. Geography, Planning, Agriculture, Landscape Architecture) with development of the required skills:

Strong academic performance (e.g. GPA) as well as strong scholarly writing and data visualization skills

Independent problem-solving orientation, along with interest in being part of an interdisciplinary team

Openness to learning new methods and software using academic literature and online manuals

Strong organizational skills (including reporting, metadata, reference management software), time management and attention to deadlines

If pursuing a bibliometric role, applicants will be expected to have:

  • Strong understanding of library databases such as Web of Science, and their strengths and weaknesses;
  • Experience with the principles and practices of systematic literature review; and,
  • Applied use of scientometric methods, including through software such as VOSviewer.

If pursuing a statistics role, applicants will be expected to have:

  • Strong understanding of social science applications of statistics;
  • Knowledge of secondary datasets that cover human-environment issues, such as surveys undertaken by Statistics Canada; and,
  • Experience using quantitative (tabular) survey data to understand social phenomena, by use of software such as SPSS or STATA.

Candidates who can cover both of the above are particularly encouraged, even if they are stronger in one area than the other but are willing to learn. Training opportunities may be made available for the right candidate.

Please describe how this position aims to protect the environment or create a positive environmental outcome

Dr. Sherren’s lab at SRES is dedicated to sustainability transitions in the face of climate change, and across sectors: farms, cities, energy and coasts. In such contexts, the biggest challenges are often social, not technical. We need to understand how people experience and understand climate risks and resource management options, in order to find social leverage points for such solutions. 

Please describe how this position is related to the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields

Dr. Sherren’s lab works at the confluence of the spatial, social and landscape sciences, and overlaps the STEM world through engagement with scientometrics and statistics as well as social media and geographic information systems. This role should develop the research and professional skills of quantitatively oriented graduates across a range of programs (including those potentially more social or management focussed) who want to apply their skills to the problem of informing resource-related sustainability transitions via understanding their social dimensions. 

The statistics role will include analyzing national survey data to explore perceptions of ten different energy sources, including coal, shale gas, oil from various sources, as well as a full spectrum of renewables, as well as transmission including pipelines. A graduate with such experience will be better-placed to go into industry, consulting, government or NGOs related to the energy and mining sector than someone with no understanding of social issues around these critical sectors to our economy. 

The bibliometric role will be helping to disentangle the disciplinary biases and emphases in the evidence base that supports resource policy-making, particularly how social sciences are perceived at the science-policy interface. A  graduate with experience applying their bibliometric skills outside the library context would be well-placed to enter information management roles in resource-related government departments and policy 'shops'. 

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