Senior Evaluator II/Researcher

Job Type

Full Time



Application Deadline:



United States


SmartStart is an evaluation and research company in Orange County, California. We work with professors at US and international universities to assess implementation and impact of federally and privately funded programs. SmartStart currently works on projects funded by federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and NASA. We would like to sustain this funding stream and expand to additional federal, state, private, and non-profit funding. 



Full-time position. Manage all aspects of a portfolio of evaluation and/or research projects and complete deliverables within designated timeframes and budgets.



Project management

Manage multiple budgets and projects of diverse evaluations and research within budgets and timelines.

Oversee reporting of evaluation and research results, assume ultimate responsibility for all team deliverables.

Responsible for invoice and deliverable dates and preparing deliverables on time.

Maintain and improve client relations. Develop innovative ideas to work with and present information to clients and stakeholders.

Attend all key project meetings to stay informed of project progress and new developments.

Present evaluation findings and progress updates on formal/informal project phone calls and at formal/informal project meetings.

Conduct phone calls with clients to gather key evaluation information, provide updates, and review evaluation plans as needed. Initiate and facilitate meetings as necessary.

Travel to meetings and conferences inside and outside of the USA as required.

Team management & leadership

Delegate tasks according to project needs and team skillsets.

Create and maintain an efficient reporting structure within team.

Check in regularly with team members and monitor task completion. Mentor and provide assistance to team members as needed.

Conduct employee performance reviews and support junior employees in growth and development.

Help team members set professional development goals and identify learning opportunities.

Build team skillsets in evaluation design, data analysis, and reporting.

Manage team budget related to travel and training.

Participate in job interviews to select evaluation and administration employees and offer jobs to individuals at the evaluation associate, research assistant, and consultant level.

Identify new grant opportunities and meet with potential clients to develop evaluation plans.

Develop and submit proposals for evaluation and research solicitations with grant writer support.

Lead and manage a team or (teams) to conduct evaluation and/or research on multiple nationwide and/or international projects


Evaluation design

Lead the methodological and theoretical design of evaluation and research projects.

Develop and verify experimental and quasi-experimental evaluation designs.

Develop and regularly update evaluation plans for all projects.

Work collaboratively with PIs to develop their project plan including creating logic models, benchmark/milestone tables, and output and outcome metrics and targets and oversee the management thereafter.

Develop evaluation instruments including surveys, evaluation forms, interview protocols, focus group protocols, assessment rubrics, and others.

Stay abreast of evaluation literature and share with team members to maintain best practices and evaluation design. Prepare research plans.

Collaboratively write white papers and peer-reviewed journal articles with clients.

Work collaboratively with PIs to develop their project plan including creating logic models, benchmark/milestone tables, and output and outcome metrics and targets and oversee the management thereafter.



Design and carry out team reporting framework consistent with best practices in evaluation reporting.

Plan deliverables for each project. Ensure each report reflects client needs, uses the most appropriate data, and considers the audience.

Report results in userfriendly, accessible formats that meet clients’ needs including newsletters, fact sheets, and PowerPoints.

Oversee and edit all deliverables. Review and provide feedback on team members’ work.

Create innovative data visualizations of evaluation and research results.

Lead formal and informal presentations at project meetings, advisory board meetings, and conferences.

Submit to and present at academic and professional conferences.

Collaboratively write research papers and peer-reviewed journal articles with clients.

Data collection and data analysis

Maintain best practices in data collection and analysis.

Conduct and oversee data collection using surveys, focus groups, interviews, observations, assessment rubrics, and other methods including observations of classrooms and complete assessment rubrics.

Ensure team compliance with IRB protocols and general data security.

Plan and guide quantitative and qualitative data management and analyses.

Analyze quantitative and qualitative data by applying appropriate analysis techniques.


Present at project meetings, advisory board meetings, and conferences.

Participate in administrative decision-making with management including interviewing and selecting evaluation and administrative employees.

Actively come up with business development ideas to submit proposals in topical interest of work

Work collaboratively across teams to develop and submit proposals.

Help management develop measurable goals, develop the evaluation plan for the proposal, letter of commitment, and MOU.

Help management maintain current CV and NSF and NIH-formatted biosketchs.

Update proposal submissions through funding and maintain files of funded versus non-funded proposals

Other evaluation and research-related responsibilities as customarily performed by an employee in a similar position.



Master’s degree or higher.

At least 5 years professional full-time experience in program evaluation, quantitative and qualitative research design and analysis.

At least 3 years’ experience as a project manager in a research, consulting, or social service environment.

Demonstrated experience with project planning, project direction, fiscal management, client relationships, staff supervision, report preparation, oral presentations, and proposal development.



Proficiency in SPSS/Stata/R and Excel and statistical analysis methods is required.

Familiarity with experimental and quasi-experimental research and evaluation methods.

Experience with qualitative analysis software such as NVivo and Dedoose and methods.

Experience conducting evaluation and research writing in academic and applied contexts.

Experience conducting experimental and quasi-experimental evaluation designs.

Experience in project management including monitoring multiple timelines, deadlines, and budgets.

Experience conceptualizing program theory through the use of logic models, theories of change, or system maps.

Experience using online survey management platforms (ie. Survey Gizmo, Qualtrics).

Experience developing evaluation forms, surveys, and focus group and interview protocols.

Strong Microsoft Word skills, excellent writing, editing, and proofreading skills.

Able to manage multiple large-scale, multi-faceted projects and meet deadlines.

A solid work ethic, dependable, focused.

Outstanding organizational and time management skills, detailed orientated.

Able to seek out resources to locate and analyze data from secondary data sources.

Fast learner with a quick mind.

Able to provide leadership, mentoring, direction, supervision, and training to evaluation associates and assistants.

Able to lead a team, delegate responsibilities, and hold others accountable.

Able to work independently to plan project tasks in advance and identify steps leading to project completion.

An upbeat person with excellent communication and interpersonal skills who can maintain a positive work environment and positive, professional interactions with clients.

Able to flex work schedule based on travel and online conferencing responsibilities.

Able to think outside the box and identify the most efficient methods.

Able to take direction, learn from mistakes, and make changes.



Must hold a valid driver’s license to drive in the USA and own a vehicle or obtain own transportation to work.

If employee does not own a vehicle, must be willing to pay rental car/uber/taxi in excess of allowable mileage to and from client meetings and conferences.



The starting salary range for this position has been established at $66,816 0 to $77,256 and is negotiable commensurate with degree, skills and number of years’ experience working in a mid or senior level position as an evaluator or social science researcher. 

Opportunities to earn bonuses beyond the base salary are also available. Senior level employees are strongly encouraged to submit evaluation and research-related proposals in their areas of interest and specialization to earn bonuses and develop their own work teams and portfolios.

SmartStart is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in hiring or employment based upon race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, handicap, or any other reason not related to employment. All successful applicants will be required to show proof of legal right to accept employment in the US.


  •  All work is conducted at the SmartStart office or at travel locations. No remote applicants please.



SmartStart offers a competitive benefits package to all full-time employees including:

Health, dental, and vision benefits

10 paid holidays per calendar year

Vacation days

Sick time

401K retirement plan


Professional Level


Minimum Education Required


How To Apply

If interested, email cover letter, CV, references, and contact information to:


Subject line: Senior Evaluator II/Researcher Position 

Attention: Office Manager