Researcher Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Researcher, or Research Officer, supervises research projects to accomplish specific objectives. Their duties include identifying research goals, establishing methods and setting budgets for the organization for which they work.

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Researcher Duties and Responsibilities

Researchers often work with a team of other researchers and committees to plan research objectives and test parameters. They also identify research methods, variables, data collection techniques and analysis methods. Researchers monitor the project to make sure it follows the requirements and standards. They interpret the data, produce reports discussing research findings and provide recommendations at the end of the project. 

Here are examples of Researcher duties:

  • Determine areas of research to increase knowledge in a particular field.
  • Identify sources of funding, prepare research proposals and submit funding applications.
  • Plan and perform experiments and surveys.
  • Collect, record and analyze data.
  • Interpret data analysis results and draw inferences and conclusions.
  • Present research results to committee.
  • Use research results to write reports, papers and reviews and present findings in journals and conferences.
  • Collaborate with research teams, industry stakeholders and government agencies.

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Researcher Job Description Examples

What Does a Researcher Do?

Researchers typically work for academic institutions or for businesses. Researchers gather data during the project life cycle, analyze the data and publish the findings to aid new research, enrich scholarly literature and improve the decision-making process.

Depending on the employer and responsibilities, Researchers may work in laboratory environments or conduct field surveys for data collection purposes. They need quantitative and qualitative skills, knowledge of data analysis tools and proficiency in statistical applications. Researchers can work in diverse industries including academia, medicine, engineering, health, finance, government laboratories and technology.

Researcher Skills and Qualifications 

A successful Researcher candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications needed for duties. The specific skills and educational requirements Researchers need depends on their industry. However, most research roles require postgraduate degrees in their field. Successful Researchers have exceptional problem-solving and investigative skills. They are proficient in multiple data collection and analysis techniques and have an exceptional knowledge of statistical computer applications. They are also excellent communicators and can work effectively within teams. 

Here are examples of Researcher skills:

  • Master’s or doctorate degree in the research field 
  • Two or more years of teaching experience 
  • Proven knowledge of data collection methods
  • Proficiency in data analysis tools and statistical applications
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills 
  • Excellent presentation skills and ability to write doctorate-level research reports for publication in reputable journals
  • Knowledge of project management 
  • Ability to work within a team and follow the instructions of senior faculty

Researcher Salary Expectations

A Researcher can earn an average salary of $76,887 per year. The biggest determinant of a Researcher’s earnings includes professional accomplishments such as research publications, awards and teaching experience, the employer, geographical region and industry. The source of funding can affect pay because industries such as defense and tech have more financial strength than organizations that deal with social issues. 

Researcher Education and Training Requirements 

People who apply for Researcher positions often need a postgraduate degree in their industry. Many organizations demand a master’s degree for entry-level roles, while some require doctorates and substantial teaching and research experience to consider applicants. Candidates who have worked on similar projects either as a student or research officer assistant may have a higher chance of employment. 

The role requires an in-depth understanding of the terminologies used in the industry. Applicants will know how to design and conduct experiments. They will also be comfortable following the instructions of a senior researcher who acts as the project manager. 

Researcher Experience Requirements 

Researcher candidates will be excellent data collectors and need to have a good knowledge of the data analysis techniques of their discipline. They will know how to interpret data, write reports from their inferences and create actionable recommendations to broaden the scope of knowledge or solve specific research problems. If the research position is in tech, economics or biology, the Researcher requires a high level of quantitative and qualitative research skills. However, social sciences require more qualitative knowledge.

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

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Frequently asked questions about Researchers


What are the daily duties of a Researcher?

Researchers may have varying responsibilities and duties depending on the industry in which they work. However, regardless of what topic or idea they’re researching, many Researchers perform similar tasks. For example, a Researcher might meet with select internal stakeholders to discuss the latest findings or impressions from their research. They might work with other Researchers to develop the next phase of a research project and they might begin preparing a presentation for all internal and external stakeholders to share the findings of the project. 


What should you look for in a Researcher's resume?

If you’re hoping to hire a Researcher for your organization, look for the following in their resume: 

  • Skills: Researchers should have a certain set of skills, like data analysis and analytical writing, to perform their jobs well. Ensure the resumes you consider have these skills. 
  • Experience: Depending on whether you’re looking for an experienced Researcher to lead a team or a recent graduate to assist with a portion of the research project, check the candidate’s resume for the appropriate level of professional or academic research experience. 
  • Quantification: Ideally, Researcher candidates will quantify the value they produced for past employers on their resume, so you can quickly and easily see the value they might bring to your organization. 
  • Industry specific details: Often, academic research institutions want to see potential Research candidate’s published work or other academically related work in addition to normal resume information. If your industry has specific requirements for Researchers, ensure candidates provide the necessary details for your specific field. 


What makes a good Researcher?

When looking for a Researcher, consider these ideal elements and qualities that tend to make excellent Researchers: 

  • Open-mindedness: Often, Researchers begin a project with a hypothesis or expectation of what they’ll learn. Excellent Researchers are prepared to change their thoughts and opinions with new evidence and data. 
  • Critical thinking: Critical thinking is of utmost importance as a Researcher. They must be able to carefully examine and test new information during the course of a research project.
  • Focus: Some research projects take a substantial amount of time to complete. Good Researchers are focused and attentive to their research throughout the course of the project. 
  • Education: It’s important for Researchers to continue their educations and learn new skills and best practices for their specific field to ensure their research meets the latest standards. 
  • Adaptability: Great Researchers are ready to adapt their research methods and plans when needed to accommodate new information and findings.


What is the difference between a Researcher and a Research Assistant?

In most cases, Researchers are the more senior members of a research team, especially when compared with Research Assistants. In academic research positions, a Researcher will likely hold a Ph.D. or other terminal degree, while a Research Assistant might be earning a master’s degree or doctorate degree while assisting on the project. In the business sector, companies often hire Researchers to head large research and development projects due to their expertise and experience in the field, while Research Assistants are entry or mid-level employees who assist with the research itself. 

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