Occ. Code 2456200









New York State Department of Civil Service


Classification Standard




            Program Research Specialists plan studies; collect and analyze data; interpret and report findings on current or proposed programs, policies,  and legislation related to such programs to determine the actual or potential effectiveness in achieving objectives; identify weaknesses in programs and make recommendations for modifications; and provide advice and consultation to agency management on program operations.


            These positions are classified in various State agencies.




            Program Research Specialists are assigned to various program areas, some of which require specialized knowledge in a field as evidenced by a parenthetic.  The grade level of classes in the series, however, is distinguished by the same characteristics listed under the three levels described below.


            Program Research Specialists with parenthetics perform the same activities as the positions in the generic titles but within a specialized subject matter, requiring substantive and specific knowledge and experience in that field.  The fields of research for the parenthetic titles are summarized in the attachment.


            PROGRAM RESEARCH SPECIALIST 2: performs various tasks in the collection, analysis, evaluation, and reporting on smaller, less difficult operating programs, or carry out segments of larger projects as assistants to higher level specialists.


            PROGRAM RESEARCH SPECIALIST 3: performs the full range of program research activities, including the planning, conduct, evaluation, interpretation, and reporting of study findings; may supervise lower level support and professional staff.  


            PROGRAM RESEARCH SPECIALIST 4: plans, organizes and directs all program research, analysis and evaluation activities for a major and significant program area, or for an entire agency; and supervises Program Research Specialists 3.




            Research Scientists perform research involving the formulation, conduct, analysis, interpretation, and reporting of scientific investigations of phenomena or problems with application in specialized subject matter in the medical, biological, and behavioral sciences.  Such research includes, but is not limited to, theoretical and experimental investigations.


            Economists apply economic theory and principles in the design and planning of economic studies, the systematic collection and analysis of economic information, the preparation of interpretative reports, and the provision of guidance and advice to management, interest groups, and others on economic matters.


            Statisticians plan and design statistical studies, gather and interpret numeric data, and provide technical assistance and advice in the application of statistical methods and in the interpretation of statistical results.




Plans the study or investigation, and develops and issues instructions covering the steps to be followed in carrying out the plan.


Determines the kinds of information needed and the data sources and collection methods to follow.



·         Evaluates data sources to determine any limitations in terms of reliability or usability.




·         Prepares operating schedules to ensure a smooth operation and the effective utilization of staff.


Collects and processes data utilizing survey and/or non-survey instruments, published and unpublished agency statistics and records, on-site investigations, discussions with operating officials, and similar materials and sources.


Analyzes and interprets data following analytical methods prescribed by plan.


·         Evaluates various program areas including policy, procedure, legislation, objective, and cost effectiveness.




·         Identifies new program needs, considering agency goals and other relevant conditions and trends, and the effects of actual or proposed legislation.




·         Evaluates the effectiveness of alternative or corrective actions being considered for various programs.







Prepares forecasts of factors directly related to and affecting agency program operations for use in program planning activities.


Presents results of studies or investigations to agency management, covering conclusions and recommendations based on the evaluations made.


Advises agency staff and others on the improvement of program effectiveness, the interpretation of study findings relevant to an agency program, and implications of policy or legislative changes on affected program.


In addition, a Program Research Specialist 3 provides technical advice, consultation and guidance on operating programs to staff, agency officials, and others.


·         Develops specifics regarding the planning, development of analytical methods, study procedures, and methods of presentation.


·         Prepares written technical reports containing the analysis and interpretation of study findings along with recommended courses of action based on study findings.


·         May consult with information technology staff in developing and maintaining the agencys infrastructure necessary to carry research functions.


·         Assesses the content of data systems to ensure that they support the analytic needs of the agency.


·         May supervise support and professional staff.


·         May assist a Program Research Specialist 4 or other staff in studies of major agency programs that have statewide implications and interrelate with other programs.


In addition, a Program Research Specialist 4 provides consulting service, monitors and evaluates program effectiveness, and initiates or recommends new program studies.


·         Conducts programmatic discussions, conferences and prepares written directives that outline broad study objectives. Collaborates with stakeholders on a statewide or national level.


·         Independently develops the analytical methods and detailed study procedures, and coordinates the activities of other individuals and groups participating in the study.


·         Prepares comprehensive finished reports covering all phases of the study, the interpretation of results and recommended courses of action. May disseminate results at statewide or national level.


·         Conducts studies of major agency programs that involve controversial issues, have statewide implications, and generally interrelate with other programs.


·         Supervise support and professional staff.




            Program Research Specialists 2 carry out their assignments following standard work procedures and plans.  Employees complete most assignments without assistance from supervisors although such assistance and advice are usually available.  Changes in study plans or variations in work procedures are approved before being undertaken.  Incumbents keep their supervisors informed of problems and progress of studies.  Completed work is reviewed by the supervisor for compliance with instructions and procedures, technical accuracy, soundness of approach, and for adequacy of results.


            Program Research Specialists 3 work independently and refer only problems of a highly sensitive nature with major policy implications to the supervisor for review and advice.  Incumbents are usually supervised by a Program Research Specialist 4 or a bureau administrator with responsibilities for program evaluation and planning activities.  Completed work assignments are reviewed for soundness of approach and for conformance with study objectives.


            Program Research Specialists 4 work under general administrative direction.  They review study results for compliance with study objectives.  Incumbents develop new concepts, guides, and knowledge in the solution of problems, and develop or recommend new program studies.




            Program Research Specialists 2 communicate both orally and in writing with staff in their own organization, with technical specialists in other occupational areas providing support for projects, and with representatives of the program area under study to obtain and validate information, check conclusions, and resolve problems.  They may also participate with other program researchers at conferences with program administrators.  Their involvement usually consists of providing supporting information to the principals at the conference.


            Program Research Specialists 3 communicate, both orally and in writing, with various individuals and groups including program research staff, management officials, technical specialists in other occupational areas, and with representatives of the program area under study.  Such contacts involve frequent oral and written communications to provide instructions and technical assistance, obtain and exchange information, define study objectives, coordinate the activities of other employees, provide support to the project, and present and explain recommendations for changes in program operations to supervisors and operating management.  They usually take the lead at conferences with program administrators and other specialists in presenting study recommendations in an effort to convince others of their soundness and practicality.  Outside of the organization, incumbents meet and have written communications with interested individuals, clients and others to provide, confirm and acquire information, and explain program goals, objectives and study findings.


            Program Research Specialists 4 have extensive written and oral communication with individuals and groups both inside and outside of the organization at both the operating and policy levels.  They may serve on committees, participate in high-level agency planning and work groups, and provide advice and consultation.  They present observations, findings, and recommendations that often involve substantial changes in long-standing program operations to agency administrators and managers.




            Program Research Specialists 2 and 3 may supervise lower level positions.


            Program Research Specialists 4 directly supervise lower level Program Research Specialists and clerical support staff.  They perform the full range of supervisory responsibilities.






Open Competitive: Bachelors degree with nine credit hours in statistics, economics, econometrics and/or research methods, and completion of a two-year traineeship.




Promotion:  one year of permanent service as a Program Research Specialist 2. 




Promotion:  one year of permanent service as a Program Research Specialist 3.  



* Parenthetical positions may require specific educational and/or work experience.




Date:  5/12


NOTE:  Classification Standards illustrate the nature, extent, and scope of duties and responsibilities of the classes they describe.  Standards cannot and do not include all of the work that might be appropriately performed by a class.  The minimum qualifications above are those which were required for appointment at the time the Classification Standard was written.  Please contact the Division of Staffing Services for current information on minimum requirements for appointment or examination.      

Parenthetic Attachment


            Program Research Specialist (AgriculturAL)


            The incumbents of these positions perform research, evaluation and analytical studies relating to acreage, production of crops, livestock, commodities pricing, milk production, receipts and utilization of milk, prices and margins for milk, and organization and structure of the industry.


            Program Research Specialist (Criminal Justice)


            The incumbents of these positions perform research, evaluation, and analytical studies relating to crime and the impact of justice system interventions. They assess crime trends, recidivism, offender risk, quality of program implementation, impact of programming on crime factors, and performance indicators developed by State criminal justice agencies.


            Program Research Specialist (Economics Finance)


            The incumbents of these positions perform research, evaluation, and analytical studies relating to various economic and financial factors such as rate setting methodology, aid formulas, grants distribution, aid payment schedules to educational institutions, taxation, real property tax levy, and Medicaid reimbursement.


            Program Research Specialist (Health Care Finance)


            The incumbents of these positions perform research, evaluation, and analytical studies relating to reimbursement mechanisms, funding methodology, health economics, healthcare financing, cost containment, and patient classification systems.


            Program Research Specialist (Health Systems Analysis)


            The incumbents of these positions perform research, evaluation, and analytical studies relating to health care delivery systems, State and federal surveillance systems, health regulatory and policy analysis, quality assurance, best practices and clinical outcomes.


            Program Research Specialist (Housing & Community Development)


The incumbents of these positions perform research, evaluation, and analytical studies relating to affordable housing for low- and middle-income individuals.



            Program Research Specialist (Human Services)


            The incumbents of these positions perform research, evaluation, and analytical studies relating to issues surrounding various social programs, such as cash assistance, nutrition assistance, child support, child protective and preventive services, disease management, disease prevention, employment and unemployment services, workforce development, and labor exchange.



            Program Research Specialist (Medical Assistance)


            The incumbents of these positions perform research, evaluation, and analytical studies relating to Medicaid and other State and federal medical assistance programs.



            Program Research Specialist (Public Health)


            The incumbents of these positions evaluate public health programs; conduct applied research and analysis of the causes, occurrence or control of diseases or other health conditions, health behaviors or health care system utilization, including the impact that payment methodologies have on population health.


            Program Research Specialist (Transportation)


            The incumbents of these positions perform research, evaluation, and analytical studies relating to highway safety, traffic management, accident reduction, accident surveillance, mass transit, and motor carrier safety.