Research Assistant, Foreign Affairs

U.S. Library of Congress
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Early Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Jul 26

Position description

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division (FDT) is seeking three limited-term Research Assistants to support a broad range of research tasks in three distinct sections in FDT. The relevant sections are Foreign Policy Management & Global Issues; Middle East & Africa; and Asia. The selectees will support research analysts and managers in addressing congressional requests for information and analysis by performing research, data analysis, writing, and other research support duties as assigned by section and division management.

Ideal applicants will have experience conducting research in one or more of the following areas, as well as some knowledge of the legislative and policy contexts, institutional dimensions, and policy tools related to such issues:

  • Foreign policy, including global trends and transnational issues.
  • Regional foreign policy issues pertaining to the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Regional foreign policy issues pertaining to the Asia-Pacific region, including South Asia.

Successful candidates must be able to work as part of a collaborative team and must exhibit the intellectual flexibility and broad research skill set that facilitate effective work across a wide issue spectrum beyond the applicant’s research focus or concentration.

Strong research, writing, and presentation skills are essential; candidates with both qualitative and quantitative research skills, and experience using data visualization to inform research products and processes, are especially urged to apply.

CRS works exclusively for the United States Congress, providing policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS has been a valued and respected resource on Capitol Hill for more than a century.

CRS is well known for analysis that is authoritative, confidential, objective, and nonpartisan. Its highest priority is to ensure that Congress has immediate access to the nation's best thinking on public policy issues of interest to its Members and Committees.

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Supports and participates in the development and preparation of comprehensive or complex analytical and descriptive products that inform congressional understanding of public policy issues and consideration of policy proposals.

Participates in group efforts on research projects as a member of a collaborative team and undertakes research and data analytical tasks in support of the development of an array of analytical and descriptive products or components. May prepare contributions to analytical or descriptive background reports, memoranda, and other types of written responses for congressional committees, Members, and staff.

Performs literature searches and reviews, and evaluates publications and analyses for authoritativeness, relevance, and currency. Recommends documents for use by research staff and prepares abstracts for descriptive and analytical underlying materials.

Locates, extracts, collects, and/or compiles quantitative data and other information; interprets and evaluates data for accuracy, relevance, authoritativeness, and usefulness; works with section and division staff to identify and resolve problems with data; and formats data to meet targeted, well-defined research needs.

Creates and populates databases and spreadsheets, reformatting and standardizing data from different sources, and performing data input, calculations, and analysis. Trains colleagues and/or instructs staff on the content, nature, and use of section and division data resources.

Creates and formats a range of tables, graphs, images, maps, and other insertions to CRS products, reviewing and verifying this content for accuracy and completeness. As directed, contributes to quality control processes, including suggestions to improve and enhance CRS products and services.

Prepares materials for use at consultations, briefings, and seminars for congressional clients. Attends consultations, briefings, seminars, and outreach activities to gain familiarity with CRS’s information and analytic capabilities, record questions, gauge audience engagement, and capture audience suggestions for future sessions; may present analytical information, factual information, or research findings to congressional clients.

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential



Conditions of Employment

No additional requirements to those listed above.


Applicants must have had progressively responsible experience and training sufficient in scope and quality to furnish them with an acceptable level of the following knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties of the position without more than normal supervision.

  • Knowledge of foreign policy, Middle East/Africa, or Asia-Pacific regions.**
  • Ability to apply knowledge of the analytic research process in foreign affairs.**
  • Ability to identify, exploit, and manipulate research resources and tools to perform research tasks pertinent to foreign affairs.**
  • Ability to collaborate.**
  • Ability to prepare written research materials related to foreign affairs.
  • Ability to convey information orally through briefings, consultations, and other presentations.
  • Ability to exercise objectivity in all phases of research, including written and oral presentations.
  • Ability to communicate effectively other than in writing.


Basic Requirements

  1. Degree: major or equivalent, or a combination of courses totaling at least 24 semester hours, in international law and international relations, political science, economics, history, sociology, geography, social or cultural anthropology, law, statistics, or in the humanities; or 12 semester hours in one of the above disciplines and 12 semester hours in statistics/quantitative methods.
  2. Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major, or a combination of related courses totaling at least 24 semester hours, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
  3. Experience: four years of appropriate experience in one or more of the fields listed above in work associated with international organizations, problems, or other aspects of foreign affairs.

Application instructions

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