PhD position: Studying Judgment and Decision-Making in Child Protection 100%


You are curious about studying professionals' judgment and decision-making in child protection? You are interested in applying quantitative experimental methods? If so, then our PhD position in the SNF project “The problem of noise in child protection: Components, causes, and brief interventions to mitigate variability in professionals' judgments” may be the perfect fit for you.

School: Soziale Arbeit
Starting date: 1 January 2024 or by agreement (limited to 4 years)

Your role

  • Undertaking research activities in all stages of the project "The problem of noise in child protection: Components, causes, and brief interventions to mitigate variability in professionals' judgments"
  • Writing your dissertation based on the data collected in the project over a period of four years
  • Participating in the publication of research results (conference papers, scientific publications and research reports)
  • Participating in collaborations with field partners in the German and possibly French-speaking part of Switzerland and with researchers both nationally and internationally

Your profile

  • Master's degree preferably in Social Work, Psychology, Sociology or a related social or behavioral science
  • Sound knowledge in quantitative methods of empirical social research and willing to advance your competencies in this area
  • Experience with statistical programs (such as R, Stata, SPSS)
  • Strong interest in topics of child protection and professional judgment and decision-making, affinity to tackle issues of relevance to the child protection system
  • Very good command of German and English, both orally and in writing, speaking French is an asset
  • Reliable and proactive personality who appreciate close collaboration in an interdisciplinary team

This is what we stand for

Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW is one of Switzerland's largest multidisciplinary universities of applied sciences, with over 14'000 students and 3'400 faculty and staff.

With its four institutes and the Centre for Social Work Studies, the ZHAW School of Social Work is one of the leading Swiss tertiary institutions in the field. It is located in Zurich, Campus Toni-Areal, an urban and cosmopolitan place of creativity. The Institute of Childhood, Youth and Family engages in teaching, continuing education, business services and consulting, as well as research and development. Alongside the traditional core areas of child protection and residential or family care, the institute addresses issues relevant to child wellbeing, social parenting and education.

The PhD position is available in the project “The problem of noise in child protection: Components, causes, and brief interventions to mitigate variability in professionals' judgments”. The project spans a period of four years and is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The aim of the project is to study unwanted variability (“noise”) in child protection professionals' judgment and decision-making. In particular, the project aims to quantify the variability in professionals' judgments, identify causes of judgment variability and study the effect of brief interventions to mitigate variability and increase accuracy in judgments. The project uses quantitative experimental vignette designs as part of online surveys. As a doctoral student, you will work under the lead of the principal investigator, Dr. Joel Gautschi, and in collaboration with a part-time postdoctoral researcher. Your doctoral degree will be supervised at a Swiss university. Supervision may be established at your own initiative or through our existing collaborations.

You will be part of the interdisciplinary team focused on child protection. You will find an inspiring and supporting working environment with PhD students, researchers and lecturers who are committed to making significant national and international contributions to child protection through research and teaching.

The salary is based on the regulations of the SNSF. Please note that that your application should include a sample of your academic writing (e.g., MSc thesis, BSc thesis, term paper). Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We look forward to receiving your complete application documents by 17 September 2023.

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