Research Assistant, GIS Mapping & Social Research, Understanding the Early Years

Contract Posting

Program: Understanding the Early Years
Project: GIS Mapping & Social Research
Contract Position: Research Assistant
Term of Contract: December 4, 2006 to March 30, 2007

Understanding the Early Years Program

The Understanding the Early Years program (UEY) is a federally funded research and community capacity building initiative being undertaken by Partnership in Learning and Advocacy for Young Children (PLAY) focused on gathering, interpreting and sharing meaningful information and resources that can positively affect the early years in local communities.

The program is gathering quantitative and qualitative information from many sources to learn more about our region’s children six and under, their parents and the early childhood assets available to them in their communities. Sources of information include:  the Early Development Instrument (EDI), the Parent Interview and Direct Assessment of Children Survey (PIDACS), census data, a PLAY developed inventory of healthy early childhood assets, PLAY reports, as well as our own local qualitative research and maps.

PLAY’s local research and data provides opportunities for community dialogue, action planning and collaboration. Using the research and tools available through this program, we are working to engage a wider cross-section of the community to create a region and local neighbourhoods that positively enhance the well being and development of young children. We are developing tools and generating data that will be useful to municipal, regional, provincial and federal governments to foster healthy communities, and that will be beneficial to local organizations who serve young children and families.

The legal sponsor of the UEY program is the Community Council, a registered charity in BC’s Capital region. Other key players instrumental to the program are: the four school districts in our region, academic institutions, local early childhood development committees and the members of the UEY Research Task Group.

The program currently requires the immediate support of a part time Research Assistant to assist the program with GIS mapping and social research. The Research Assistant will be provided with direction and support from the UEY Coordinator and the UEY Research Task Group.


The Research Assistant will provide support to the UEY program in the following capacities:

  • Creation of tools and maps from various data sources such as census data, EDI data, the early childhood asset inventory and other possible sources of data meaningful to program goals and needs;
  • Work with the UEY Coordinator and the UEY Research Committee to implement local qualitative research and mapping initiatives;
  • Assist with preparations for the Community Mapping Report;
  • Provide expertise with statistical analysis;
  • Support decision making on obtaining other sources of data and necessary software and hardware for data analysis and creation of maps and tools;
  • Assist the UEY Coordinator, when required, to write reports and communication materials to disseminate research;
  • Attend organizational and committee meetings, as required;
  • Assist with finalizing the early childhood asset inventory;
  • Work with the UEY Coordinator to create community early years profiles;
  • Consult with municipalities and other partners to determine interest in sharing data and to ensure that our data is formatted to upload into other applications;
  • Finalize a ‘template’ for PLAY maps (including colour schemes etc.);
  • Support other UEY activities, as required.

Selection Criteria

  • A graduate or masters degree with specialization in social research and GIS mapping
  • Has at least two years of experience conducting research involving mapping and statistical analysis;
  • Experience using Arcview 8, Excel, Access and SPSS;
  • Ability to communicate research information to diverse audiences (i.e. parents, teachers, the community at large) orally, written and in graphic form;
  • A specialisation in the social sciences is desirable and familiarity with, or keen interest in, the field of early childhood is beneficial, but not required. The specialization may also be obtained through an acceptable combination of education, training and experience;
  • Has a flexible work schedule to accommodate 20 to 25 hours a week;
  • Available to start beginning of December 2006;
  • Enjoys working collaboratively;
  • Knowledgeable and upholds ethical research practices and protocols within community and academic environments;
  • Involvement in community based research is an asset.


This is a part time contract consisting of 320 hours of work to be completed over four months (December 4, 2006 to March 30, 2007). The Research Assistant should be able to provide between 20 to 25 hours per week (with exception over the seasonal holidays at the end of December). There is a strong possibility that the position will be extended beyond March 2007.

Remuneration is based on an hourly rate of $25.00 per hour, for a total fee up to $8,000.

Reasonable expenses for travel will be reimbursed.

The Research Assistant will be required have their own computer and office space. Access to a computer with all mapping software and necessary program files will be shared between the Research Assistant and the UEY Coordinator, as well as a colour printer.

Submission Process

Your expression of interest will include:

  • Your resume;
  • A letter (2 page maximum) demonstrating your interest in the position and relevant research and experience that is related to the position;
  • Names and contact information of three references who testify to your experience.

Email your application to: or fax to (250) 360-5606 no later than November 17, 2006, 4pm.  Kindly mark the subject of the email: UEY Researcher Assistant.

Visit websites and for more information.

Applicants selected for an interview will be notified by phone.