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Research Associate

Knoxville-Knox County Planning
Knoxville, TN
United States
Professional Areas: 
Civil Engineering
Economic Development
Land-Use Management
Urban Design
Experience Level: 
AICP Certification: 
Not required
$45k-$50k dependent upon qualifications

General Description

This position involves responsible, professional work on short- and long-term research projects. Project design, research, analysis, and report preparation are typical activities. Work may be directed toward completion of research reports or special studies associated with Planning’s work program. Projects may involve economic development, land use, transportation, housing, community development, zoning, and a variety of other public services.

Essential Functions

  • Supports Information Services, Planning Services, Transportation Planning, and other agency functions by conducting special studies, background research, and data queries on assigned topics under supervision of the Senior Research Associate or Information and Research Manager. 
  • Conducts studies, such as inventory and analysis of commercial property markets, development trends, economic indicators, and demographics. 
  • Collects annual data releases from the U.S. Census Bureau and other federal, state, and local agencies and summarizes data for public dissemination.
  • Collects and analyzes project-specific statistics and synthesizes information, develops and maintains database files to handle information efficiently, and brings substantial computer, map reading, and writing skills to assigned projects.
  • Identifies special studies that benefit the agency work program, efforts of staff planners, or would be of interest and use to the public or other partner agencies.
  • Assists with management and maintenance of the agency library, including acquisition of digital and print materials, organization of working papers, and document storage.
  • Performs technical work with considerable independence. Work is reviewed through meetings with supervisors and project teams, reports, and observation.
  • Requires supervision of technicians, interns, and other support personnel, as needed.
  • Responds to public inquiries, shares information with other organizations, prepares general correspondence, and attends meetings, some of which may occur during evenings and on weekends.
  • Performs other related duties, as may be assigned.

Marginal Functions

  • None indicated.


  • Knowledge and skills in one or more specialized fields, such as urban planning, geography, urban studies, economics, civil engineering, or related field. 
  • Substantial knowledge of general principles of research, statistical procedures, and technical writing.
  • Substantial knowledge of personal computers and software applications, particularly spreadsheets, databases, mapping, and word processing. 
  • Knowledge of principles and practices of public administration and interagency relations in the local government setting.
  • Basic knowledge of principles and practices of planning, land use regulation and control, and/or transportation planning.
  • Ability to lead and conduct independent investigations, compile statistical and other technical information, prepare analyses, and demonstrate findings.
  • Ability to present data visually with maps and illustrations.
  • Ability to effectively prepare and present reports verbally and in writing.
  • Ability to supervise technical and support personnel on a project basis.
  • Ability to manage projects to successful completion, within scheduled deadlines.
  • Ability to explain research findings, technical matters, and regulations to staff and others outside the agency.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective and productive working relationships with staff, superiors, outside agencies, elected officials, media, and the public.
  • Ability to provide outstanding customer service.

Physical Requirements
Must be able to operate a variety of office machines and equipment, such as personal computers, keyboards, printers, scanners, photocopiers, cameras, telephones, fax machines, calculators, rulers/scales, utility knives, and paper cutters. Must be able to work, move, or carry objects or materials. Must be able to lift and/or carry weight of 10 to 20 pounds. Must be able to exert up to 20 pounds of force occasionally and/or up to 10 pounds of force frequently. The job involves sitting most of the time, but may involve walking, climbing stairs, or standing for short periods of time. Physical demands for the majority of work performed are at levels of those for sedentary work.   

Mental Requirements
The position uses logic and/or scientific thinking to define problems, collect information, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions; uses knowledge, ability, and skills to organize and perform work assignments; and uses judgment for non-standard tasks, with guidance as needed.

Minimum Requirements

  • Master’s degree in urban planning, geography, urban studies, economics, civil engineering, or related field, with one year of experience; or bachelor’s degree with three to five years of relevant experience.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree preferred.

FLSA Designation

  • Exempt.
Published on:
July 23, 2019 - 9:25am
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