Social Science Research Assistants

Overview
Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Experience

A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.

Education

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Job Training

Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Examples

Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.

Assist social scientists in laboratory, survey, and other social science research. May help prepare findings for publication and assist in laboratory analysis, quality control, or data management.

Salary Salary

Salary at 10th Percentile: $31K
Salary at 25th Percentile: $39K
Median Salary: $49K
Salary at 75th Percentile: $62K
Salary at 90th Percentile: $81K

Demand
Career Demand by State Career Demand by State Legend
Core Tasks

Design and create special programs for tasks such as statistical analysis and data entry and cleaning.

Administer standardized tests to research subjects, or interview them to collect research data.

Obtain informed consent of research subjects or their guardians.

Prepare tables, graphs, fact sheets, and written reports summarizing research results.

Provide assistance with the preparation of project-related reports, manuscripts, and presentations.

Recruit and schedule research participants.

Screen potential subjects to determine their suitability as study participants.

Perform descriptive and multivariate statistical analyses of data, using computer software.

Track research participants, and perform any necessary follow-up tasks.

Verify the accuracy and validity of data entered in databases, correcting any errors.

Develop and implement research quality control procedures.

Prepare, manipulate, and manage extensive databases.

Code data in preparation for computer entry.

Edit and submit protocols and other required research documentation.

Perform data entry and other clerical work as required for project completion.

Track laboratory supplies and expenses such as participant reimbursement.

Conduct internet-based and library research.

Provide assistance in the design of survey instruments such as questionnaires.

Present research findings to groups of people.

Supervise the work of survey interviewers.

Perform needs assessments or consult with clients to determine the types of research and information required.

Collect specimens such as blood samples, as required by research projects.

Allocate and manage laboratory space and resources.

Technology Skills
Technology
Example
Hot Technology
Analytical or scientific software
The MathWorks MATLAB
Computer based training software
Appletree
Data base user interface and query software
Microsoft SQL Server
Desktop publishing software
Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
Development environment software
Microsoft Visual Basic
Electronic mail software
Microsoft Outlook
Graphics or photo imaging software
Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
Information retrieval or search software
Online library databases
Internet browser software
Web browser software
Map creation software
ESRI ArcGIS software
Object or component oriented development software
R
Office suite software
Microsoft Office
Presentation software
Microsoft PowerPoint
Spreadsheet software
Microsoft Excel
Video creation and editing software
Video development software
Tools Used
Tool
Example
Communications Devices and Accessories
Multi-line telephone systems
Computer Equipment and Accessories
Computer data input scanners
Office machines and their supplies and accessories
Transcription equipment
Top 10 Knowledge Required
English Language
85%
Importance

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Computers and Electronics
70%
Importance

Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Clerical
65%
Importance

Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

Mathematics
62%
Importance

Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Customer and Personal Service
61%
Importance

Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Education and Training
59%
Importance

Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Psychology
51%
Importance

Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Administration and Management
50%
Importance

Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Law and Government
44%
Importance

Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Communications and Media
43%
Importance

Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.

Top 10 Skills
Reading Comprehension
80%
Importance

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening
75%
Importance

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking
75%
Importance

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Writing
75%
Importance

Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Complex Problem Solving
68%
Importance

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Speaking
68%
Importance

Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Science
65%
Importance

Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Active Learning
63%
Importance

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Judgment and Decision Making
63%
Importance

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Mathematics
63%
Importance

Using mathematics to solve problems.

Top 10 Abilities
Oral Comprehension
80%
Importance

The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Oral Expression
80%
Importance

The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Written Comprehension
80%
Importance

The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Written Expression
75%
Importance

The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Information Ordering
73%
Importance

The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

Deductive Reasoning
70%
Importance

The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Near Vision
68%
Importance

The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Inductive Reasoning
65%
Importance

The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Speech Clarity
65%
Importance

The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

Mathematical Reasoning
63%
Importance

The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.

Top 10 Work Activities
Interacting With Computers
95%
Importance

Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Processing Information
94%
Importance

Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Analyzing Data or Information
90%
Importance

Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
89%
Importance

Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Documenting/Recording Information
86%
Importance

Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Getting Information
86%
Importance

Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
79%
Importance

Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
76%
Importance

Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
75%
Importance

Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
72%
Importance

Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Detailed Work Activities

Develop technical or scientific databases.

Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.

Collect information from people through observation, interviews, or surveys.

Conduct research on social issues.

Prepare information or documentation related to legal or regulatory matters.

Plan social sciences research.

Collect archival data.

Record research or operational data.

Develop software or applications for scientific or technical use.

Develop methods of social or economic research.

Administer standardized physical or psychological tests.

Manage scientific or technical project resources.

Supervise scientific or technical personnel.

Confer with clients to exchange information.

Collect biological specimens.

Work Context
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled

How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?

Electronic Mail

How often do you use electronic mail in this job?

Spend Time Sitting

How much does this job require sitting?

Importance of Being Exact or Accurate

How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?

Work With Work Group or Team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Face-to-Face Discussions

How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?

Importance of Repeating Same Tasks

How important is repeating the same physical activities (e.g., key entry) or mental activities (e.g., checking entries in a ledger) over and over, without stopping, to performing this job?

Freedom to Make Decisions

How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?

Contact With Others

How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?

Structured versus Unstructured Work

To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?

Education
Majors
Major
Behavioral Sciences
History and Political Science
Psychology, General
Psychometrics and Quantitative Psychology
Public Policy Analysis, General
Education Policy Analysis
Health Policy Analysis
International Policy Analysis
Social Sciences, General
Survey Research/Methodology
Economics, General
Applied Economics
Econometrics and Quantitative Economics
Development Economics and International Development
Political Science and Government, General
Political Economy
Sociology, General
Applied/Public Sociology
Interests
Conventional
91%
Importance

Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Investigative
72%
Importance

Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Social
39%
Importance

Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Artistic
34%
Importance

Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Enterprising
29%
Importance

Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Realistic
24%
Importance

Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Top 10 Work Styles
Dependability
99%
Importance

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Cooperation
96%
Importance

Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Attention to Detail
93%
Importance

Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Independence
90%
Importance

Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

Adaptability/Flexibility
88%
Importance

Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Integrity
87%
Importance

Job requires being honest and ethical.

Self Control
86%
Importance

Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

Achievement/Effort
85%
Importance

Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Persistence
85%
Importance

Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Analytical Thinking
81%
Importance

Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Work Values
Independence
67%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Achievement
58%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

Working Conditions
58%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Relationships
53%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Recognition
43%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Support
43%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.