Social Researcher

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    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

     

    Duties

    • 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.

     

    Qualifications

    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.

     

    Skills

    • 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.

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