Best Research Assistant Job Description (+ Free Template Download)

A research assistant, or RA, for short, is a professional researcher contracted by a university or research institute to assist with academic research or private research. These professionals are often contracted by the university rather than employed full-time. The research assistant oversees each step in a research project or research study. This includes identifying scientifically-based research, performing a research study after the primary research has been conducted, and supporting the results through the investigation of other studies.

A research assistant is sometimes referred to as a faculty researcher and social science research assistant.

research assistant job description

Research Assistant Job Description Sample

Our university is seeking a research assistant to join our research team. The research assistant will oversee all aspects of a research project. From the initial research project discovery phase (developing the study objectives), to developing the research study (creating focus groups, potential subjects, and more) through clinical research or a clinical trial. Then overseeing the results and validating them through previous studies.

Research Assistant Duties and Responsibilities

Sample job duties and research assistant responsibilities:

  • Uncover the objectives of the research project and research study.
  • Start initial scientific research from the discovery phase of the project.
  • Develop a research plan and research study using research participants or research subjects.
  • Conduct an experiment against the project and study, then document findings.
  • Submit findings to a principal investigator for review and approval of a research grant.
  • Ensure a high-quality research experience for all research subjects.
  • Review experiment data and document findings from the initial work.
  • Act as a type of administrative assistant for the research project, handling administrative duties.
  • Work closely with a social scientist to define, plan, and execute an experiment.
  • Carry out experiments and research according to university protocol and protocol defined by primary researchers.
  • Log experiment data sets or research data, and prepare reports (graphs, spreadsheets, scientific models, and more).
  • Provide administrative support to the primary researcher.

Economics Research Assistant Job Duties and Responsibilites

  • Conducts statistical and economic analyses of current macroeconomic, microeconomic, and regional data, and provides research support for the economists of the financial institution.
  • Supports the economists in their basic and applied research by following instructions to perform tasks including collecting data, conducting moderately complex statistical analysis, writing statistical software programs, and organizing the presentation of results.
  • Prepares a variety of charts, tables, and descriptive text for Department management or other staff economists to use in their briefings of the President and the Board of Directors.

Clinical Research Assistant Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Research tasks should include recruitment, screening for eligibility of tests, consenting participants, conducting research assessments, data entry, and subject follow-up and scheduling.
  • Research staff will be trained to administer quantitative sensory testing.
  • Perform specific protocol procedures (specimens and data management, survey/questionnaire administration, and similar) required to conduct the study and retain research subjects.

Graduate Research Assistant Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Compile, synthesize and analyze research collected from official secondary sources.
  • Assist with quality control measures for survey links and presentation documents.
  • Assist with presentation and report creation (for both qualitative and quantitative research projects), including analysis, data entry, and chart/table creation in Excel/PowerPoint.

Research Assistant Requirements

Qualified candidates should have the following:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, Art History, Economics, Social Science, or a related field.
  • Master’s Degree in Biology, Art History, Economics, Social Science, or a related field.
  • Experience in molecular biology preferred.
  • Laboratory experience is preferred.
  • Previous work experience in a research assistant position preferred.

Research Assistant Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a research assistant earns $24.68 per hour, on average. Equalling $51,340 in average salary.

Related: Research Assistant Resume

Research Assistant Skills

A top candidate or student in the research assistant field should have one or more of the following skills:

  • Attention to detail skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Technical skills
  • Data collection skills
  • Data analysis skills
  • Ability to maintain quality, safety, or infection control standards
  • Planning and scheduling skills
  • Interviewing skills

Research Assistant Job Boards

A hiring manager or educator looking to hire a research assistant should post on these "niche" job boards before using a national job board like Indeed or Monster.com. By posting on either the university's job board or a "niche" job board, an employer or hiring manager has a great likelihood of finding a job seeker and candidate with a higher degree of passion for career path advancement.

Top research assistant job boards

Research Assistant Certifications

Research assistants can become a certified research assistant by completing a bachelor's degree and/or master's degree in a related field. Once completing these degrees, a certification from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) or the Society of Clinical Research Association (SoCRA) should be completed.

Top candidates have certifications from either the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) or the Society of Clinical Research Association (SoCRA).

Research Assistant Job Description Template

Job brief
Our university is seeking a research assistant to join our research team. The research assistant will oversee all aspects of a research project. From the initial research project discovery phase (developing the study objectives), to developing the research study (creating focus groups, potential subjects, and more) through clinical research or a clinical trial. Then overseeing the results and validating them through previous studies.

Duties and Responsibilities
  • Uncover the objectives of the research project and research study.
  • Start initial scientific research from the discovery phase of the project.
  • Develop a research plan and research study using research participants or research subjects.
  • Conduct an experiment against the project and study, then document findings.
  • Submit findings to a principal investigator for review and approval of a research grant.
  • Ensure a high-quality research experience for all research subjects.
  • Review experiment data and document findings from the initial work.
  • Act as a type of administrative assistant for the research project, handling administrative duties.
  • Work closely with a social scientist to define, plan, and execute an experiment.
  • Carry out experiments and research according to university protocol and protocol defined by primary researchers.
  • Log experiment data sets or research data, and prepare reports (graphs, spreadsheets, scientific models, and more).
  • Provide administrative support to the primary researcher.
Requirements
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, Art History, Economics, Social Science, or a related field.
  • Master’s Degree in Biology, Art History, Economics, Social Science, or a related field.
  • Experience in molecular biology preferred.
  • Laboratory experience is preferred.
  • Previous work experience in a research assistant position preferred.
research assistant job description

research assistant job decription free template and download

Research Assistant Job Description Template

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Using a Job Description Template

Follow these instructions to use a job description template:

Job Description Format

Follow the format below when writing a job description.

Job Title:
[Job Title]

[Job Summary/Job Brief]

Responsibilities and Duties:
  • [List 4-5 essential functions of the job role]
Requirements:
  • [List 5+ qualifications including education level, experience level, key skills, and expectations of the job function]
(Optional) Work Environment:
  • [LIst 2-5 characteristics, traits, and other requirements of the role]
  • [If physical requirements are necessary, include reasonable accommodation details]
This role and job position will report directly to [Job Title] who leads [Department Name].

For more information on writing a job description, visit this resource.

Top Job Boards

Consider posting a job description or job advertisement (referred to as a "job ad") on one of the following national job boards:

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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