Job Description of a Research Assistant

by Kristin Swain
Research assistants work in the social sciences and physical sciences, among other areas of study.

Research assistants work in the social sciences and physical sciences, among other areas of study.

Most researchers are not able to carry out all of the experiments and do all of the reading required to support their theories, so they hire a research assistant to lighten the workload. Research assistants are an invaluable part of any researcher's project. They help the researcher or a senior research assistant by collecting and analyzing data, providing organization, and completing clerical duties.

Understand the Project

A research assistant must understand the study by knowing the researcher's goals, how she wishes to proceed with the research, and which research methods are appropriate for the study. Research assistants should also be able to operate all equipment required for experiments and be able to find credible academic resources to support the work and experimental findings of the researcher.

Conduct Research

Research assistants help execute experiments essential to the project, and record procedures and findings accurately and completely in a manner that is easy to understand. Research assistants code research findings for data entry and maintain all files relevant to the project. A research assistant's duties also include compiling any academic research and readings that might be relevant to the project and completing a bibliography for reference.

Take Detailed Notes

The notes and recordings taken by the research assistant are extremely important. The research assistant must document procedures, findings, and relevant information gleaned from academic research. These notes are the foundation of the project, used to determine the findings and support the researcher's thesis. All notes taken should be accurate and comprehensive, and must be organized, coded, and entered into the computer before being filed.

Administrative Tasks

A researcher often does not have time to keep up with all of her administrative tasks, so the research assistant is responsible for work such as answering telephones and returning calls, organizing files, and improving office work flow. A research assistant also serves as editor for the researcher. The assistant carefully reads through the written aspects of the project and makes corrections. Other administrative tasks include analyzing collected data and supervising other employees as necessary.

About the Author

Residing in Los Angeles, Kristin Swain has been a professional writer since 2008. Her experience includes finance, travel, marketing and television. Swain holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Georgia State University.

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