Who Is A Research Assistant And What Do They Do?

Who Is A Research Assistant And What Do They Do

Who Is A Research Assistant And What Do They Do? — Are you considering a career as a research assistant? And you are probably interested in knowing more about who is research assistants and what they do. Then, you are reading the right article. Universities, colleges, and other Research schools regularly require the services of research assistants to help them with their own or client’s research. 

However, depending on the research area you work in and the institution you work for, your roles as research assistants vary. The majority of research assistants will work out of a lab or an office. On rare occasions, they might travel to the field for research.

In this article, you will learn all about research assistants and what they do. We would also discuss the different benefits of becoming a research assistant. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Who Is A Research Assistant?

A research assistant is a professional who works alongside a lead researcher to assist in conducting and managing projects. They are also given the responsibility of conducting reviews on literature. Aside from working with lead researchers, research assistants also work with professors, supervisors, or managers who are working on projects. They are numerous job opportunities for professional research assistants at;

  1. Colleges
  2. Universities 
  3. Research institutions
  4. Private companies 
  5. Government agencies 
  6. Consulting firms 
  7. Government agencies
  8. Non-profit organizations 
  9. Lobbying firms, etc.

Research assistant roles are mostly filled with graduate students seeking to gain in-depth skills and hands-on experience in their area of consideration. In some schools, working as a graduate assistant is one of the requirements before graduation. However, people pursuing their undergraduate degrees can decide to become research assistants. 

So, having given you a view of who research assistants are and what they do. Read on to get familiarized with the roles and responsibilities of research assistants. 

Roles and Responsibilities of Research Assistants 

A research assistant works closely with some high professionals like medical practitioners, professors, teachers, and other experts to promote their research in their area of expertise. The area of study and the requirements of the study will determine the kind of activities a research assistant undertakes.

Therefore, to have more knowledge on who research assistants are and what they do, below are the twenty-three(23)major roles and responsibilities of a research assistant.

  1. They are involved in the collection and recording of data required for experiments Designing graphs and preparing presentations to present findings
  2. . Modifying and assessing the accuracy of research papers
  3. . Executing trials and recording all outcomes
  4. Taking care of management, inventory, and storing at research centers
  5. Following the outline of an already established interview outline, they conduct and record in-person and telephone interviews with subjects.
  6. . May set up, evaluate, and manage field and laboratory research equipment following the needs of the investigation
  7. May direct or supervise student employees’ work
  8. Carry out other tasks as assigned by their employers
  9. Arrange research for a media outlet and help with lab analysis, quality assurance, or data management
  10. Create content and offer it to publications
  11. They also draft research protocols
  12. They help in monitoring development recorded over time
  13. They also aid in managing all educational and training activities. Research assistants also partake in the arrival of assessment techniques
  14. Research assistants also carry along clinicians and neighborhood partners in their research process.
  15. Provide clinical partners and academic researchers with comprehensive training and support resources. 
  16. They work alongside lead researchers to create evaluation and assessment tools
  17. Research assistants help in assembling information to achieve the desired outcomes
  18. They also retain records of completed assignments and sometimes serve as the intermediary between undergraduate students and their faculty researchers.
  19. Partake in local congregations and conferences
  20. Publish further publications, reports, and presentations.
  21. Visit field locations to collect and record data and samples following the study’s practical recommendations
  22. They also aid in conducting data entry on a provided computer database or spreadsheet program. 
  23. Depending on the research field they work in and their role, research assistants help in identifying and developing lists of potential research subjects that align with the parameters and objectives of the study they are working on.

Still, on research assistants and what they do, we shall highlight the educational requirements and skills needed to become a research assistant.

Educational Requirements and Skills Needed To Work As a Research Assistant

To work as a research assistant, an education background is necessary. As this will help you build the credibility to work professionally. The educational qualifications for working as a research assistant can differ by industry and company.

  • Academic research assistants must have at least completed a bachelor’s degree in a course related to their line of work and are currently pursuing a graduate degree in that field.
  • All research assistant applicants are expected to have an undergraduate degree in a related subject. Meanwhile, there are a few exceptions to the rule that you must have a degree in a related field to work as a research assistant. Today, organizations in the academic and other disciplines engage the services of untrained applicants to take the role of research assistants and perform straightforward duties such as data entry. 

There are also required skills to be a research assistant. They are:

  • . Effective communication and Interaction
  • Observation of details
  • Critically analyzing.
  • Technical expertise
  • Data Analysis with Statistical and Graphical Methods.
  • Ability to uphold the standards for quality and safety during research
  • Organization and preparation.
  • Interviewing
  • Data Gathering 
  • Gain excellent administrative abilities
  • Understanding of research techniques.
  • A capacity for pressured work
  • Superior time management abilities

Benefits Of Working As a Research Assistant 

The role of a research assistant comes with lifetime knowledge and career improvements. As a research assistant, you can benefit from the following:

1. Development of a closer relationship with your supervisor/professor 

You can work closely with a professor, senior graduate students, etc. One of the major benefits of a research assistant is that you may develop a closer relationship with your primary professor, which may benefit your portfolio. 

2. You can get to network with professors and other experts in the field 

It gives you access to the network and collaboration with big names in your area of study. Knowing these professionals will help you obtain better recommendations that display your skills and knowledge of academics. You can go a long way with strong recommendation letters.

3. Mentorship relationship

You will get to establish a healthy and beneficial mentorship relationship with a professional in your field. 

4. Letters of recommendations

Access amazing letters of recommendation when applying for a job or your graduate program.

5. You get valuable experience 

Working as a research assistant will help you gain valuable research experience. As a research assistant, your duties include designing tests, carrying them out, analyzing the data, and compiling the findings. Gaining all this expertise would be rewarding in the future. It would also come in handy during your master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation.

6. You will gain practical experience

If you are interested in working in academia or as a lead researcher, taking up this role is an excellent choice. It gives you access to numerous aspects of research and academics in general, thus helping you gain expertise and proficiency.

7. You make money

Another benefit of becoming a research assistant is that you make money. It is a great extra source of income that allows you to learn while earning. This extra money can go a long way in supporting your education 

8. You will get numerous academic recognition that would help accelerate your career 

When you work as a research assistant, you would get to partake in different educational processes. You get the opportunity to assist in the accomplishment of articles, grants, conference lectures and posters, and publications. Apart from that, you may even be given recognition or co-authorship for your contribution to these projects. All these processes will go a long way in your resume and could eventually help you in getting a rewarding job in academics. 


That’s it! Above is a comprehensive article that answers your question “who is a Research Assistant and what do they do?” The Research Assistant role is a position that requires you to collaborate or work alongside lead researchers, professors, managers, etc to create and manage projects. It is an amazing role that allows you to earn while learning. It is also a great way to build your portfolio, gain experience, and connect with top-notch people in your field.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is research assistant difficult?

Yes, working as a research assistant can be a bit demanding, especially if you are a student. Most research assistants have fixed schedules, but you are often going to get last-minute assignments and instructions. And most of these assignments come with tight scheduling. Thus it can be really difficult to balance your studies and your job.

Can an undergraduate work as a research assistant?

Yes, undergraduates with the relevant skills can work as research assistants under the strict supervision of the lead researcher.

Can I become a research assistant without the requirements?

No, you cannot become a research assistant without meeting all or most of the requirements needed by the organization, school, hospital, etc.




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