Social science research assistants support social scientists in conducting experiments, analyzing results and preparing research for publication. They fulfill lab management tasks, maintain quality standards and implement testing procedures.
To perform their jobs well, social science research assistants should have extensive training in social science research methods. This generally requires them to hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology or another social science. Your social science research assistant job description should mention the desired field of study and any specific types of experience that will be useful in completing job duties.
Data management is a substantial component of social science research assistants’ jobs, so they should be adept at using databases and analysis software. They should also be detail-oriented problem solvers with strong interpersonal skills. If you want to learn more about how to write a thorough social science research assistant job description, read the example listed below.
Social Science Research Assistant Job Summary
Hollington University’s Social Science Research Institution is seeking a research assistant to enhance our research efforts and strengthen our lab’s performance. As part of our research staff, you will aid the primary investigators in conducting a portion of the longitudinal Babies and Beyond study. Over the course of more than 12 years, this study has revealed fascinating information about child social development, and you will have the opportunity to be on the front lines of additional discoveries. You will work under Dr. Dominic Perkins, supporting his research through data management, subject testing, grant proposal writing and manuscript preparation. Due to the prestige of our lab and the comprehensive range of job duties, this position is an excellent transitional step if you are seeking entry into graduate study programs.
- Ensure the integrity of the project by mastering existing test protocols and administering them accurately
- Review previously published research and apply findings to develop test protocols to be used in future portions of the study
- Perform subject intake interviews, administer tests, code data and track subject information, recording data at the end of each visit
- Use SPSS to run data analysis tasks such as reliability and validity testing, contingency table formulation and significance testing
- Develop graphs, tables and reports explaining experiment results, incorporate them into manuscript drafts and present findings to supervisors approximately once per month
- Contact test subjects to remind them of upcoming visits, schedule them for future visits and ensure they are compensated for their time
- Write portions of quarterly grant proposals, providing granting bodies with compelling evidence of the importance of our lab’s work
- Update databases, manage virtual and physical files, organize documentation and maintain neat and welcoming testing areas
Job Skills & Qualifications
- Bachelor’s degree in psychology or other social science
- Demonstrable familiarity with social science research methods
- Proficiency with SPSS or other data analysis software
- Strong writing and speaking skills
- Highly organized, able to efficiently and accurately manage large quantities of data
- Outgoing personality and ability to make lab visitors feel comfortable
Social Science Research Assistant Job Responsibilities
As you write out a job description, hoping to generate interest among talented social science professionals, the job responsibility section is where you’ll want to spend the bulk of your time. Use it to deliver the facts about your position that grab the attention of the best and brightest candidates. Focus on using the responsibilities section of the social science research assistant job description to list the day-to-day tasks, using language and formatting that quickly delivers the core of your expectations. With this type of focus, the section should separate unprepared applicants from those with the capability of completing tasks and carrying out instructions correctly.
To ensure the quality of your social science research assistant job responsibilities section, cap the number of responsibilities at eight, choosing only those that accurately define the position. For example, don’t include a bullet point about responding to emails, but you should include one about conducting interviews or completing surveys. In addition to choosing descriptive tasks, use a variety of action verbs to create a clear image of the work.
Here are some examples you could include in your own social science research assistant job description:
- Assist social scientists in research, both in the field and in the laboratory
- Edit research documentation for submission to peers
- Prepare study results for publication, obtaining consent from research subjects and guardians while maintaining standards of ethical principles
- Prepare questionnaires, graphs, fact sheets and reports
Social Science Research Assistant Job Specifications
While the job qualifications and skills section of the social science research assistant job description tends to be a short list, it still provides valuable information that separates candidates without the right qualifications from those who better meet your specifications. This separation is important because it allows you to spend less time focused on unqualified jobseekers and more time researching talented, appropriately skilled individuals.
Your social science research assistant job specifications should list the education, experience and skills necessary to complete the tasks outlined in your responsibilities section. Achieve this kind of balance with the help of social science researchers and any assistants who are already working with the researcher. These individuals have unique experience and valuable input to inform your writing.
Consider using some of the following items in your own social science research assistant job description:
- Excellent active listening skills, giving complete attention to the content and manner of subjects’ responses, asking appropriate questions and respecting the proper timing of continuing or interjecting
- Complex reading and writing skills, understanding sentences and paragraphs in related documents and communicating effectively in writing for a variety of audiences
- Completion of courses through the Social Research Association, a plus
- Experienced in accomplishing clerical tasks, such as file management and word processing