Social Researcher


    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.