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Research Assistant, Daily Physical Activity, Public Health Ontario

Toronto, Ontario
Deadline June 5, 2013

Title: Research Assistant, Daily Physical Activity (two contract positions)
Program: Health Promotion
Job ID: 13-0033 and 13-0034

Organizational Overview

Public Health Ontario (PHO) is a Crown Corporation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health of all Ontarians and reducing inequities in health. As a hub organization, PHO links public health practitioners, front-line health workers and researchers to the best scientific intelligence and knowledge from around the world.

PHO provides expert scientific and technical support relating to infection prevention and control; surveillance and epidemiology; health promotion, chronic disease and injury prevention; environmental and occupational health; health emergency preparedness; and public health laboratory services to support health providers, the public health system and partner ministries in making informed decisions and taking informed action to improve the health and security of Ontarians.

For more information about PHO, visit

Position Details    

Position Title: Research Assistants, Daily Physical Activity (two contract positions)
Department: Health Promotion, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention
Duration: Full-time Temporary (two 18 month contracts)
Location: 480 University Avenue, Toronto
Compensation Group: AMAPCEO
Position Status: Open
Job Code: 11AGA General Administration
Salary: $40,390 - $49,131 annual
Posting Date: May 22, 2013
Closing Date: June 5, 2013

Reporting to the Manager, Knowledge Synthesis and Evaluation Services, and under the work direction of the Senior Scientist, the Research Assistant will provide support to investigators from the Daily Physical Activity Research Team to implement research projects according to established protocols. Working with the Research Coordinator and study investigators, the Research Assistant will contribute to the development of study protocols and data collection instruments through scans and reviews of the literature, the organization and implementation of data collection activities, data analysis, and reporting. Some research travel for data collection will be necessary.

Key Responsibilities    

  • Assists with literature reviews by creating and running search strategies for web-based search tools, selecting relevant documents by reviewing abstracts for inclusion/exclusion criteria, and drafting summary reviews of key articles.
  • Create and maintain a reference management file (Refworks, Endnote, Refman) required for literature reviews, manuscripts and reports.
  • Contributes to the development and pilot testing of primary data collection tools (e.g. surveys, interviews, and focus group guides); administer data collection protocols.
  • Screens participants for inclusion criteria, recruits study participants (e.g., sends invitations to participate, telephone follow-up, liaises with school personnel) and schedules data collection tasks; facilitates informed consent procedures (e.g. administration of consent forms, documenting verbal consent) and communicates study benefits and risks.
  • Administers questionnaires, surveys, interviews, observations, focus groups following protocols established for data collection.
  • Extracts data from existing sources according to a defined protocol or coding scheme.
  • Assists with qualitative data collection (maintaining field notes, transcribing audio tapes) and qualitative data analysis (applying thematic coding schemes to transcribed data and validating coding by applying inter-rater methodology.
  • Completes data entry and data cleaning, and performs quality checks.
  • Performs basic quantitative data analysis including descriptive analyses; summarizes results in tabular and graphical form for use in presentations, manuscripts, and other reporting formats.
  • Prepares for and supports External Advisory Committee meetings by coordinating logistics, preparing materials such as agendas, and providing on-site supports such as taking minutes.
  • Assists the Research Team with additional tasks such as contributing to the development of Research Review Board and Ethics Reviews Board applications, abstract submissions, poster preparations, and manuscript and grant applications.
  • Schedule team meetings, maintain minutes and agendas as well as contribute to research team updates.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Knowledge and Skills    

  • Knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research methodology (data collection and analysis) as well as related software applications (SPSS, SAS, NVivo).
  • Demonstrated computer and data management skills including proficiency in MS Office (e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, and Project 2003).
  • Skill and expertise in conducting literature searches and summaries, as well as maintaining reference management files (e.g., Refworks, Endnote, and Refman) for peer-reviewed and grey literature to inform literature reviews, manuscripts and reports.
  • Skill and ability to work in a matrix management structure and within cross-disciplinary teams.
  • Planning, organizing, project management skills, and initiative in order to work effectively and efficiently under conditions of multiple deadlines and changing priorities with meticulous attention to detail.
  • Ability to approach and manage assignments in a fast-paced environment;
  • Clear understanding of the research process acquired through both practical and academic experience.
  • Ability to develop and maintain positive relationships with both internal and external colleagues and clients.
  • Excellent inter-personal skills and ability to work collaboratively, and ability to organize work efficiently.

Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in public health, social sciences or related discipline, in order to provide support to study investigators to implement research projects.
  • Master’s degree would be considered an asset.
  • One to three (1-3) years of experience supporting applied research at an academic department, research institute, public health unit or organization related to health promotion and the primary prevention of chronic diseases and injuries and health equity.

If you are interested in applying for this position, please visit and click on the job title.  

Your cover letter and resume must clearly indicate how you meet the qualifications/competencies.

Thank you for your interest in this position, however, only qualified candidates will be contacted for an interview.