Social researchers design, manage and undertake research projects to investigate social issues such as employment, unemployment, gender, health, education and social policy.
You will use a variety of methods to collect, analyze and organize information and data, which you then present to others, either in a written report or as an oral presentation.
Employers of social researchers
- Local authorities
- Higher education establishments
- Health authorities
- Commercial market research organizations
- Independent research institutes
- get instructions from your client about the nature of the research to be carried out;
- use an appropriate and creative methodology to design and manage a research project, which may involve the use of quantitative and/or qualitative methods and may include both pilot and development work;
- design questionnaires;
- apply a range of research techniques to gather relevant information, including document analysis, surveys, case studies and interviews (face-to-face, telephone and online);
- develop and test theories;
- liaise with and direct social research field interviewers to gather information;
- carry out information and data retrieval searches using electronic databases;
- analyze and evaluate research and interpret data, making sure that key issues are identified;
- gather information by directing or carrying out fieldwork;
- prepare, present and disseminate results, for example as a verbal presentation and in a written report;
- offer research-based briefings and advice, which may involve writing action plans;
- advise external bodies on social policy;
- prepare and present tenders for new research projects.
A good degree in any subject is acceptable for entry into the profession, although employers often require relevant qualifications in social research, business studies, politics, social policy, sociology, mathematics or statistics.
- experience in quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies and research techniques;
- numeracy and confidence in using statistical techniques and computer-based programs;
- strong analytical skills;
- excellent interpersonal, team-working and communication skills;
- report-writing skills;
- project management skills;
- accuracy and attention to detail;
- a flexible approach to be able to work on several different research projects at the same time;
- organization skills, including time management and the ability to work under pressure and to deadlines.