What Do Social Science Research Assistants Do?
Social Science Research Assistants assist social scientists in the research activities they conduct. This occurs within a laboratory setting as well as surveying in the field. Some of these activities include laboratory analysis, quality control, and data management. Part of a Social Science Research Assistant’s work is to help prepare research findings for publication.
Social Science Research Assistants Skills and Abilities
A strong knowledge of the English language will be required, both in terms of reading comprehension as well as speaking and writing skills. You will draw from both knowledge of human psychology and psychological research methods. You will of course want to be versed in clerical, office-type tasks such as file management and word processing. Sometimes it will be helpful to have a strong knowledge of computers and electronics. To really excel, you will want to demonstrate clarity of expression as well as to have skills with deductive reasoning and critical thinking.
Social Science Research Assistants Duties
Your primary role as a Social Science Research Assistant will be to assist researchers in collection of data and information from relevant sources via observation, interviews, or surveys. You will also be assisting in data analysis to break down information and draw conclusions. Aside from this, you will processing and compiling this information and results in the forms of reports and tables, much of which will involve work with computers and database systems. In addition, Social Science Research Assistants:
- Administer standardized physical or psychological tests
- Collect biological specimens
- Conduct research on social issues
- Confer with clients to exchange information
- Develop methods of social or economic research
- Develop software or applications for scientific or technical use
- Plan social sciences research
- Prepare information or documentation related to legal or regulatory matters
- Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations
- Supervise scientific or technical personnel
Social Science Research Assistants Tools and Technology
The equipment used by Social Science Research Assistants is pretty standard. You will use desktop computers and laser printers. Be prepared for this to be a PC. Know how to use a photocopier. It will sometimes be best to have a device to transcribe dictations. In addition, you will need to be proficient with the following types of software:
- Analytical or scientific software
- Data base user interface and query software
- Desktop publishing software
- Electronic mail software
- Graphics or photo imaging software
Education and Training for Social Science Research Assistants
There is a pretty general spread for the level of education among Social Science Research Assistants. While some perform this work before having obtained a high school diploma, typically you will need an Associate’s degree to land this job. Some Social Science Research Assistants are very highly educated as well, with a good 45 percent having a bachelor’s or higher, and a third of that chunk being Master’s-level or higher.
Social Science Research Assistants Salary
The pay for this job is generally low-moderate, though some well-paid Social Science Research Assistants can make a somewhat large amount. These ones can make over $33 per hour, whereas the lowest paid Social Science Research Assistants make around $9.20 per hour—a difference of more than 3x. Most fall somewhere in the middle, pulling in a median of $18.97 across the country which adds up to over $39,000 through the course of a year.
Social Science Research Assistants Jobs by Geography
In every state where the position is offered, the market for Social Science Research Assistants is growing. It grows the fastest currently in Utah, Oregon, and California. Since it also offers one of the highest median wages of any state in the country, California seems a particularly viable option. Maryland also employs a larger number of Social Science Research Assistants than most states, while offering an even higher average wage than California.