Social scientists study human behavior and the mental, social and biological processes that influence and result from it. To deepen their understanding of these phenomena, they design and conduct experiments, analyze the results and share their findings with colleagues and the public.
Depending on their preferred areas of concentration, social scientists usually have master’s or doctoral degrees in psychology or sociology. Your social scientist job description should clarify the level of education and experience necessary to fulfill the duties of the position.
Because their work consists primarily of designing and conducting studies, social scientists must have strong analytical skills to be successful at their jobs. You should also make sure to hire candidates who have excellent interpersonal skills because they will regularly interact with human test subjects. Keep reading to find out what else you should include in your social scientist job description.
Social Scientist Job Summary
The Human Behavior Lab at Piaget University is seeking a social scientist to join our staff, lead two of our principal studies and conduct additional research. You will contribute your expertise to the Diversity and Growth Project and the Social Safety Net Study, both of which have been in development for the past six months. While improving these existing studies and influencing the direction of their execution, you will also have the opportunity to pursue your own research goals and take advantage of the resources and reputation of our APA accredited laboratory. You will report directly to Dr. Hayden McLaughlin, who is widely renowned for her contributions to the current body of research on the development and manifestation of biases and preferences.
- Lead team of research assistants in further developing the parameters of two in-progress studies, and oversee the execution and analysis of these studies over the next three to five years
- Strengthen the significance of these projects by contributing expertise of the field, familiarity with published research and experience with designing and conducting previous experiments
- Spearhead additional social science experiments, educate research staff on background, allocate study design duties and oversee implementation of tasks
- Create and use methods for measuring human behavior, such as test protocols, computer programs, physical apparatuses and biophysical profiling devices
- Follow emerging social science research and current events to develop more comprehensive understanding of human behavior and inform further directions of study
- Write academic articles detailing the background, development, execution, results and conclusions of studies, and submit at least three articles per year to social science journals
- Contribute critical knowledge to grant proposals, recommend information to be included and approve final drafts before submission
- Review studies conducted by other social scientists for errors in reliability, validity and other strength factors, completing at least one review per month
Job Skills & Qualifications
- PhD in psychology or sociology
- Five years’ experience in a professional position at a behavioral research laboratory
- Strong leadership and interpersonal skills
- Self-motivated, investigative and analytical personality
- Familiarity with SPSS analysis software
- Experience conducting peer reviews and writing grant proposals
Social Scientist Job Responsibilities
Searching for the right social scientist for your company can be a tricky proposition. There are many different branches of the social sciences and a great variety of specialties. You need to pay particular attention to the job responsibilities section of your social scientist job description. A good description with clear job expectations is instrumental to finding the right fit for your business. You must specify what the primary research focus of the prospective candidate will be. Mention your company’s ongoing projects or studies. Jobseekers can then evaluate if their area of expertise is a match for your needs.
Use bullet points to create a list of daily tasks the new employee will perform. Try to keep the list short and sweet for clarity; 6-8 items is a good number. If your social scientist job description has long-term research assignments in addition to the day-to-day work, you can make a separate bulleted list for those. Start each item on the list with an action word and keep the statements short and succinct. Jobseekers have many employment options and the easier you make it for them to imagine themselves working for you, the more applications you receive.
Following is a list of possible social scientist job responsibilities:
- Design, implement and analyze randomized controlled trials
- Ensure that work adheres to open science best practices
- Provide critical feedback and ideas
- Perform literature reviews
Social Scientist Job Specifications
Consider the necessary background for your social scientist candidate. What avenues of research should they have pursued? How much education do they need? Would you like to see particular sub-specialties? As you craft your social scientist job description, keep these questions in mind. A job qualifications and skills section narrows the candidate field to those who are appropriate for your position, saving you the hassle of wading through under- or over-qualified candidates.
If there are some social scientist job specifications that are not required, but rather preferred, or if there are skills in which the candidate can be trained on the job, delineate these clearly. This allows capable candidates who might have a great desire to work in your industry, but perhaps don’t have a lot of experience, to express an interest and apply. Remember to keep your expectations reasonable. Allow for the jobseekers to be adaptable and flexible, particularly if your company’s line of research is in a niche field.
Consider the following skills and qualifications for your social scientist job description:
- Experience with statistical programming language
- Expertise in the design of randomized controlled trials
- Be curious, compassionate, rigorous and organized
- Master’s degree required, doctorate preferred
- Ability to learn quickly