Research Assistant

Position Title:
Research Assistant


Reports To:
John Carter McKnight

Assistant Professor, Sociology of Emerging Technologies

Harrisburg University

326 Market Street, Room 1336B

Harrisburg PA 17101


Terms of Employment:
The position is hourly, with a minimum of 5 and maximum of 20 hours per week for the Spring semester (January 9 – May 1, 2017)


The Research Assistant will work remotely, but may be required to make two site visits to Harrisburg University at project expense.



Background Information:
Dr. McKnight is Principal Investigator and Lead Instructor on SimGlobal, a prototype simulation of global crisis management for use in undergraduate and graduate social science classes. The core of the project is a twelve-week simulation of simultaneous global crises originating in a fictional region of Central Asia. The scenario will involve inter-related environmental, public health, refugee, diplomatic, economic, and military disruptions. Students will roleplay as a UN-sponsored crisis response team of subject-matter experts.


Designed to reflect pedagogical insights derived from the study of game-based learning, the simulation is a unique synthesis of political simulation, transmedia production exercise, alternate reality game, and gamified classroom. The key course element is an Interactive Transmedia Crisis Scenario (ITCS) under development by the project Co-Investigators. The ITCS requires students to take charge of their own learning across a range of topics in management and scientific/technical fields in order to solve interrelated complex problems on a global scale in a time-sensitive situation.



Primary Duties and Responsibilities:
The Research Assistant will be responsible for coding and analysis of digital video of student interactions in the Simulating Global Crises course, to inform assessment of the simulation as a tool for teaching global policy and management. Additionally, the Research Assistant will:

  • Draft internal documentation evaluating the SimGlobal simulation and course,
  • In conjunction with the PI and Co-Is, serve as co-author on journal articles and conference papers,
  • In conjunction with the PI and Co-Is, present findings at academic conferences, and
  • Assist the PI and Co-Is with other duties as assigned.



Qualified candidates must:

  • be currently enrolled in a masters or doctoral program in a related field in education, the social sciences, or digital humanities.
  • have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.
  • demonstrate experience in qualitative social science research, particularly coding and analysis of digital video.
  • be familiar with educational theory and practice regarding development and assessment of course objectives, pedagogy, and assignments in higher education.
  • have experience or other demonstrated competence with remote work and supervision.
  • provide evidence of excellent written and oral communication skills; strong interpersonal, organizational, and analytical skills; demonstrated ability to be self-motivated and to conduct oneself in a highly professional and ethical manner; and will have a working knowledge of software packages commonly used in qualitative data analysis.
  • familiarity with, or a research agenda in, analog games and simulations, either educational or entertainment, is preferred but not required.


Interested candidates should submit their resume and letter of intent to the attention of:

Erin Hill

Executive Recruiter

Harrisburg University