Research Intern - Freelance Economy bei Microsoft

Research Intern - Freelance Economy

Redmond, Washington, United States
  • Redmond, Washington, United States

Save save Research Intern - Freelance Economy to job cart
  • Job number 797539
  • Date posted Feb 20, 2020
  • Travel None
  • Profession Research
  • Role type Individual Contributor
  • Employment type Internship

Research Internships at Microsoft provide a dynamic environment for research careers with a network of world-class research labs led by globally-recognized scientists and engineers. Our researchers and engineers pursue innovation in a range of scientific and technical disciplines to help solve complex challenges in diverse fields, including computing, healthcare, economics, and the environment.
Over the past few years Microsoft, and other enterprise companies, have increasingly hired freelancers, via online labor platforms like Upwork, to help with their every day business operations. This internship will address fundamental research questions in the freelance economy. More specifically, prior research has shown that task definition is one of the key stumbling blocks to the more widespread hiring of freelancers. Defining a task in the freelance economy is the act of carving out a piece of one’s work responsibilities, describing it, specifying the milestones and pay rate, and determining the requirements of the freelancer. The goal of this internship is to understand how to do task definition better. We will start by analyzing previous project descriptions and milestones placed on Upwork by Microsoft employees along with data and feedback on the work product produced. We use this data set to generate hypotheses that we will then test experimentally in three main ways. First, we will give a variety of past used job descriptions to freelancers to get their feedback on whether these descriptions are clear enough and would incline the freelancer to apply for the job. Second, we can then test giving the same job description and milestones to several freelancers to understand how much variation in the outcome depends on the freelancer vs the job description and milestones. Finally, we’ll vary the job description based on our hypotheses and give each to several freelancers to understand which modifications to the job descriptions result in usable work artifacts that are rated highly by Microsoft employees and/or consumers of the work.


Interns put inquiry and theory into practice. Alongside fellow doctoral candidates and some of the world’s best researchers, interns learn, collaborate, and network for life. Interns not only advance their own careers, but they also contribute to exciting research and development strides. During the 12-week internship, students are paired with mentors and expected to collaborate with other interns and researchers, present findings, and contribute to the vibrant life of the community. Research internships are available in all areas of research, and are offered year-round, though they typically begin in the summer.
This internship will involve the intern collaborating both with a member of Microsoft Research and a product team. The output will be insights the product team can use as well as an academic paper.


In addition to the qualifications below, you’ll need to submit a minimum of two reference letters for this position. After you submit your application, a request for letters may be sent to your list of references on your behalf. Note that reference letters cannot be requested until after you have submitted your application, and furthermore, that they might not be automatically requested for all candidates. You may wish to alert your letter writers in advance, so they will be ready to submit your letter.
Required Qualifications
  • Must have at least 1 year of experience studying the users of the freelance/gig economy (e.g. Upwork, Uber, etc.) or crowdsourcing sites (e.g. Mechanical Turk).
  • Must be currently enrolled in a PhD program in computational social science or a related field.
  • Must have 2-3 years of experience doing quantitative research in computational social science or related fields.

Preferred Qualifications
  • Applicants who have successfully launched a field experiment or online experiment will be given special consideration.

Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, family or medical care leave, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, protected veteran status, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws, regulations and ordinances. We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements. If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation due to a disability during the application or the recruiting process, please send a request via the .
Benefits/perks listed below may vary depending on the nature of your employment with Microsoft and the country where you work.

Benefits and Perks

  • Industry leading healthcare
  • Giving programs
  • Opportunities to network and connect
  • Discounts on products and services


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