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; 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 130.

Position Summary:

The Director’s internship is an opportunity during the summer of 2015 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 seven 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 (up to three) projects they are interested in working with.

Projects/Departments Overview


Pew Research Center’s politics research group studies American attitudes toward politics, the press 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 weekly and monthly polls on politics and major policy issues in the United States. In addition, the Center periodically fields major surveys on political values, the news media and social issues. Over the course of summer 2016, projects will include surveys about interest and engagement in the 2016 election, and views of partisanship, as well as key policy issues.


The Journalism research group assesses the state of news and information in a changing society through its annual State of the News Media report and other special reports. Major reports throughout the year examine news coverage, economic models for news, social media and news, and audience trends.

Internet, Science, & Technology

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


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. 

Hispanic Trends

The Hispanic Trends research group seeks to improve public understanding of the diverse Hispanic population in the United States and to chronicle Latinos’ growing impact on the nation.

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 the racial wealth gap, generations in America, 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:
    • Highlight your skills and describe in detail your quantitative and statistical experience, including use of specific statistical software programs.
    • **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 references.

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