Design Researchers

Chicago, IL, USA


Temporary positions for individual projects. Conifer Research conducts design research projects both domestically and internationally for clients across a wide variety of industries. 




People are endlessly fascinating, don’t you think? We do. Conifer Research is seeking a curious and empathetic Senior Researcher who is passionate about leading teams and guiding clients to understand what makes people tick and drive strategy and innovation. In this role, you will have opportunities to work on projects across numerous industries, wearing many hats along the way – from researcher to strategist to storyteller to user advocate. This position is contract-to-hire.



Conifer Research brings practical insight to companies that wish to change and innovate. Through an ethnographic approach to research, we help our clients embed their creativity into an understanding of the everyday lives of people they hope to engage – customers, workers, and end-users. Our seasoned team of anthropologists, strategists, and information designers act as consultants, facilitators, and coaches helping organizations gather deep insights.


Clients come to Conifer for many reasons, but with a common challenge: How do we align business activities better with the real lives and needs of customers? We have experience in retail, consumer goods and lifestyles, financial services, healthcare, and digital products. Some clients include Sonos, Samsung, PepsiCo, McDonald’s, Google, Discover, Lowe’s, CarMax, and Ferrara Candy Company.



A successful candidate will be expected to:

  • Lead internal and client teams through all phases of qualitative research or innovation programs, including: planning, research design, data collection, rigorous analysis and synthesis, identifying patterns, developing key insights, ideation and opportunity definition. 
  • Execute research programs drawing from established methodologies for ethnography, remote research, evaluative testing, and co-creation.
  • Explore and experiment with new research tools and develop new innovative research methods
  • Translate research into actionable recommendations and innovation opportunities.
  • Manage client relationships during research planning, driving strategic conversations, translating and prioritizing opportunities into business implications, and developing long-term relationships
  • Lead fieldwork in a variety of locations, both in the US and internationally (this role does have the potential for up to 20% travel time for research and workshop meetings)  
  • Drive synthesis and sensemaking to create narratives that frame research findings in a way that clearly demonstrates the business implications of insights and opportunities
  • Lead deliverable creation and client presentations
  • Assist with internal business development initiatives and proposal writing
  • Be a voice for thought leadership at Conifer and within the broader design research community 


The qualities of an ideal candidate include:

  • 3+ years of relevant experience in research or insights, including experience in a consultative environment
  • Bachelor's Degree or Master's Degree in Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, Design or a related field
  • Experience designing and fielding remote ethnography and online community research
  • Being strategic, flexible, collaborative, and passionate about advocating for user needs
  • Confident presentation skills and passion for communicating user stories and insights
  • Active engagement in thought leadership within the design research community
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Proficient with Keynote and remote research software 

Bonus points for:

  • Experience with video editing (Final Cut, Adobe Premiere and After Effects) and/or visual storytelling preferred.
  • Visual communication and presentation design skills
  • Previous experience with quantitative research including survey design and quant data analysis
  • Proficiency with video, still photography and audio recording equipment.
  • Foreign language fluency
  • Thought leadership and public speaking experience

APPLICATIONS: Please share a cover letter, portfolio and relevant work samples in addition to resume.