What does a Research Assistant Do?

4 minute read
Research Assistant

“No research is ever quite complete. It is the glory of a good bit of work that it opens the way for something still better, and this repeatedly leads to its own eclipse.”- Mervin Gordon. Research and Development is an integral part of every academic discipline as it contributes immensely to the development of a field and delves deeper into the unknown which often leads to new advancements and innovations. Research Assistants are those budding scholars that gather as well as analyze data and information and conducting experiments. They primarily work under the academicians of an institution who also lead a particular research project. If you are planning to pursue the domain of research in a specific field of study, this blog will provide you with a comprehensive guide on the responsibilities handled by a Research Assistant as well as the qualifications that are essentials required to pursue this career path.

What is a Research Assistant?

A Research Assistant, also known as RA, is a researcher employed by a university, a research institute or a privately held organization, for the purpose of assisting in academic or private research. Graduate and Doctoral students become research assistants to gain specific skills and experience in their respective fields of study. There are various types of Research Assistants such as:

  • Laboratory research
  • Policy Research
  • Social Sciences Research
  • Psychology and Sociology Research
  • Engineering Research
  • Economics Research
  • Marketing Research

Research Assistant Educational Qualifications

When it comes to educational qualifications of a Research Assistant, an essential prerequisite is a bachelor’s degree in the field you want to work in. Usually, Research Assistants are not asked to have prior work experience to help the main researchers in their research projects. However, for individuals wanting to work in the domain of scientific research, institutions generally prefer those who have worked on several projects in their related field.

Skills Required for Research Assistant

Here is a list of major skills that you need to become a Research Assistant:

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Technical Skills: Since handling and operating instruments and equipment is a major part of the area of Research, you need to be tech-savvy and proficient at using different technologies related to your field. 

Time-Management Skills: Meeting the various project deadlines as well as dealing with statistics and data also comprises a major part of the domain of research and development. Hence, as a Research Assistant, you need to be good at managing your time and accomplishing your goals within the given time frame. 

Analytical Skills: Research Assistants are required to collect data and analyse it to update and manage various databases. Analytical skills also come in handy as you might be asked to conduct field research along with writing extensive literature reviews. 

Observational Skills: High accuracy is expected from those working in the field of Research. As a Research Assistant, you need to possess excellent observational skills for perusing a topic in a detailed manner and keeping a record of your research projects.

Responsibilities of a Research Assistant

Graduates and postgraduates usually pursue the field of research especially wanting to build a career as an academician. Below we have elaborated the varied responsibilities that you will be handling as a Research Assistant:

Research Processes and Tasks

To begin any research project, there are certain tools and techniques that you will be employing, whether through statistical analyses or case studies. As a Research Assistant, you might be asked to decipher the type of research methodology and design as per your topic. According to the method, you will need to finalise how you will be conducting the research, how much time it will take as well as the hypothesis that you are setting for your project.

Proposals and Grant Funding

From the beginning and throughout the research, proposals are developed and presented to secure funding from the public as well as non-profit organisations. Objectives and proposed outcomes are an important part of the research proposals and are generally prepared by a Research Assistant under the guidance of the academician leading the project.

Presentation of Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations

Another key responsibility of a Research Assistant is to wrap the findings and conclusions of a project and presenting the outcomes to the scholars. Further, you will also be in charge of publishing the final reports and journal articles on the behalf of the academic scholar you were working under.

Research Assistant Career, Jobs and Salary

Research Assistants typically work in different kinds of organizations including medical research centers, consulting firms, universities, market research firms and more. Some research assistants may conduct fieldwork related to a research project. Research Assistants work under the supervision of Research Fellows. Research assistants can work either full time or part-time.

Research assistants salary vary depending on their field, experience, and employer. However, the average salary of a Research Assistant in India is INR 3,00,000.


What is a Research Assistant?

A Research Assistant, also known as RA, is a researcher employed by a university, a research institute or a privately held organization, for the purpose of assisting in academic or private research.

Who can become a Research Assistant?

Those with a graduate and doctoral degree can work as a Research Assistant in the respective field of their study.

What is the job of a Research Assistant?

A Research Assistant provides support to Senior Research Fellows who are conducting experiments or gathering and analyzing information and data for a specific area of study.

Thus, the field of Research is filled with promising prospects for those who are passionate about undiscovered areas of study in an academic discipline. You can take the first step into this academic career domain by becoming a Research Assistant. Further, if you are planning to pursue this field by opting for a doctoral degree, take the help of Leverage Edu‘s AI tool to browse through a varied range of PhD programs and find a suitable combination of course and university that fits your interests and career ambitions.

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