Weldon Cooper: Center for Survey Research



Center for Survey Research (CSR), a unit of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. CSR specializes in full-service survey methodology and applied research, including customized project design, professional interviewing, data collection, data analysis and reporting. CSR is a service-unit of the University of Virginia, and our clients are typically local government, stage agencies, local or regional non-profits, and academic researchers. Our goal is to provide high quality, scientifically sound data to organizations and stakeholders who can use the information to improve their agencies and communities.


Kara Fitzgibbon, Director, Center for Survey Research


CSR assists governments, organizations and researchers to measure attitudes, opinions, behaviors, and interests pertinent to their work and services. While CSR serves many clients outside of the University, we also recognize our important role as an academic center and consider it our responsible to provide students an opportunity to learn applied research in a functioning office setting. CSR offers a somewhat rare context in which students will be able to use some of the skills they've already learned in class/lab but on applied work in which the results directly lead to changes in real-world programs and policy. CSR's work and culture is highly team-based, and the intern would serve as an active member of our research team and serve as a research analyst/project manager on several survey projects.

Career Development 

This internship will prepare intern for careers in any of the following

  • Faculty
  • Academic and research administration
  • Non-profit
  • Advocacy and policy
  • Data science 


The intern will 

  • Contribute to and take responsibility for project management timelines and production on one or more surveys. This will include documenting project procedures throughout the project, attending internal team meetings, and communicating with clients as needed. Communication with survey respondents, from initial contact materials to ongoing communication with survey participants.
  • Data management and analysis, including database management or programming in FileMaker Pro, data analysis in SPSS or similar statistical packages, and managing, cleaning and combining data files from various sources. Prepare survey reports and presentation materials that are accessible to a broad, often non-specialized audience. This will include editing and providing written content for research reports and communications with clients. Power Point and data visualization skills are also desired.

Skills Development

This internship will provide experiences to develop and polish the following skills

  • Communicating to diverse audience

  • Inter-disciplinary team collaboration

  • Problem-solving and Analytical

  • Data Literacy and fluency

  • Project Management and Leadership

  • Self and Career Management

  • Grant training and pitching for funding

  • Teaching, mentoring and training

Mentoring Plan

The intern will work collaboratively as a member of the survey research team on a variety of projects, with mentoring and direction provided primarily by Kara Fitzgibbon (Director) and Tom Guterbock (Academic Director), as well as other senior research staff. The intern will regularly attend staff meetings at which strategic planning and project management take place. The intern will also become part of the larger team of professionals at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, with additional experiences possible in the areas of public affairs and policy, public communications, and applied research for local and state governmental and nongovernmental organizations. In addition to developing an advanced understanding of survey methodology and best practices, the intern will

  • be exposed to the practical challenges of conducting research (budget, time constraints, access, etc.),
  • see the real-world impact of research survey results,
  •  learn to conduct research, carry out tasks, and produce deliverable as part of a team.

Desired Qualities

CSR is open to a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. The Center seeks two primary skill sets from potential interns:

  •  experience with data collection and/or quantitative analysis,
  • and project management with effective communication skills.

Duration and Effort

We would expect the intern to commit to two terms (either Summer and Fall of 2020 or Fall 2020 and Spring 2021). During the summer, the internship expects an average of twenty hours per week. During the academic year, the internship expects an average of ten hours per week, although there may be an occasional intensive week with more hours required depending on project deadlines/timeline. We would plan these in advance and would then make adjustments in prior or subsequent weeks to maintain the appropriate level of effort across the internship period.


$25 per hour in wages provided by the Center for Survey Research