Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research in the areas of U.S. politics and policy views; media and journalism; internet and technology; science and society; religion and public life; global attitudes; Hispanic trends and U.S. social and demographic trends. Pew Research does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Pew Research Center’s work is carried out by a staff of 150.

Position Summary:

The Director’s internship is an opportunity during the summer of 2018 for students with an interest in public opinion, survey, or demographic research. Interns will join a small team of researchers and be expected to assist with various aspects of the research process. This may include survey questionnaire development, data management, statistical analysis of public opinion and/or demographic data, reporting of results and quality control. For all of these tasks, attention to detail and individual judgment are critical in maintaining the highest standards of accuracy and impartiality.

The Pew Research Center has eight research projects. Director’s interns will be placed with one of the projects, based on their interests and skills. Applicants should indicate in their personal statement which project they are interested in working with.

Projects/Departments Overview


Pew Research Center’s U.S. Politics research group studies American attitudes toward politics and public policy issues. In this role it serves as a valuable information resource for political leaders, journalists, scholars and citizens. The politics research group conducts regular polls on politics and major policy issues in the United States. In addition, it periodically fields major surveys on political values, and social issues.


The Journalism research group assesses the state of news and information in a changing society. Major reports throughout the year examine news coverage of policy issues, how people consume news, economic models for news, social media and news, and audience trends.

Internet & Technology

The Internet & Technology research group conducts original research that explores the growth of the internet and technology and the impacts on communities, the workplace, schools, families, health care and civic/political life. Major reports have examined technology and social media use, libraries in a digital age, and online harassment.


The Science research group studies attitudes about the impact of scientific research and innovation on society and how those views tie to behaviors. The research spans a wide range of science issues that raise important policy and ethical debates.


The Religion research group delivers information on issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs in the U.S. and around the world. Major reports examine politics and faith, religious beliefs and practices, and global religious demographics.

Global Attitudes

Pew Global Attitudes examines international public opinion on a broad range of issues, from people’s assessments of their own lives to views about the current state of the world. Each year, it conducts surveys across the world. 

Global Migration and Demography

The Global Migration and Demography research group collects and analyzes data such as Eurostat data, United Nation’s population data, the American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey to improve public understanding of diverse populations and to chronicle growing impact of migration on the U.S. and the world.

Social & Demographic Trends

Pew Social & Demographic Trends studies behaviors and attitudes of Americans in key realms of their daily lives, using original survey research and analysis of government data. Major reports have examined generations in America, race and ethnicity, and marriage & family trends.

Primary Responsibilities

·         Assisting in the production of reports; creating tables, charts and slides in MS Office suite.

·         Assisting with data analysis and drafting materials for reports and blog posts.

·         Data management, maintaining and reviewing internal files and databases.

·         Number checking, fact checking, proofing.

·         Assisting staff with special projects and related research, as necessary.


·         Directors interns must be rising juniors or seniors.

·         Experience with data management and analysis in SPSS or other statistical software (Stata, R, etc.) and at least one course in statistical methods/quantitative research methods required

·         Background in political science, sociology, economics, social psychology, statistics, or related fields preferred.

·         Though not required, applicants with a background/interest in journalism or data science should highlight those skills in the application

Knowledge, Skill and Workplace

·         A “numbers” person with strong quantitative and statistical skills.

·         Strong writing and communication skills

·         Experience with MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

·         A particular interest in the content of one or more of the individual projects of the Pew Research Center.

·         Ability to balance numerous tasks simultaneously, meet tight deadlines and work as a member of a team.

Application materials:

·         Your resume.

·         In your statement of purpose:

o    Highlight your skills and describe in detail your quantitative and statistical experience, including use of specific statistical software programs.

o    **Please specify which research areas you are most interested in applying for and why those areas are of interest.**

Finalists for the internship may be asked to provide (at a later date):

·         A copy of an undergraduate transcript (unofficial transcripts are acceptable).

·         A writing sample.

·         Names and contact information for additional academic or professional reference

2017 Intern Reflection:

My time at Pew has been great so far. Working for the Politics team, I have been able to learn a lot about all aspects of survey research. So far this summer, I have been tasked with writing survey questions, analyzing data, and writing and editing releases and blog posts about our findings. During my first six weeks, I have co-written a report about changing views of same-sex marriage, and graphics I created have been published in outlets including the Washington Post. I have really enjoyed learning more about survey research and the ways that it can help to understand and explain the opinions and experiences of the American people, especially in a tumultuous political time. This internship has been a great match for my academic interests: the combination of the government and sociology coursework from my social studies concentration and my statistics secondary have given me a fantastic foundation for the work Pew does.

Laura Thorsett '18


2016 Intern Reflection

My summer at Pew Research Center was an incredibly interesting and rewarding experience.  I w as lucky enough to be an intern on the Politics team where I learned the art and science of creating surveys, analyzing large amounts of data, and building compelling graphics and reports for publication.  As an intern during a uniquely exciting election year, I felt our work at Pew was important and meaningful for the average citizen: it was timely, unbiased, and factual.  My colleagues were always willing to spend time teaching me something new.  This led to one of my most exciting projects where we used machine learning techniques to fill gaps in survey data and create interactive visualizations of candidate support in the 2016 elections.

Pew’s commitment to objective research taught me to observe carefully and collect facts untainted by personal biases.  Interning there gave me the opportunity to hone useful skills and the perspective to apply them correctly.  I became a better writer, a better coder, and a more engaged citizen.  I highly recommend this Director’s Internship for anyone interested in statistics and public polling.

Richa Cahturvedi '18

2015 Intern Reflection:

My internship at the Pew Research Center was an invaluable experience. While working for the Politics team, I was able to participate in the entire report publication process. I had the chance to sit in on brainstorming meetings, help write and edit surveys, analyze data, and create graphics and text for reports. My highlight of the summer was being able to write for the Pew blog, otherwise known as Fact Tank. I enjoyed my experience not only due to the interesting work that I did, but also because of the friendly faces I saw every day. The office is filled with very smart and motivated colleagues who enjoy keeping up to date with the news and talking over coffee.

One of the qualities I liked best about Pew is that the research we published was timely - everything corresponded to a news event that was happening at the moment. Furthermore, through my internship I was able to develop my writing and statistical skills. I learned how to write in a way that was concise, factual, and objective. I also had the chance to work with new statistical software and analyze issues in a quantitative way. Overall, I enjoyed working for an organization with such a dedication to accuracy and impartiality.

Camila Rey '16

Washington, D.C.
Communications/Press, Research, Data/Analytics