What is the job description of a research assistant?

An ideal research assistant job description should contain the duties and responsibilities to expect, skills to have and monetary benefits of being a research assistant.

And all of these and more is you will find in this job description guide.

Research assistants perform a literature review, analyze data, prepare and present reports.

An ideal individual for this job should have the necessary academic qualification.

They should also possess certain skills which makes performing the duties of a research assistant much easier.

Employers look out for intelligent individuals who possess good communication and technical skills.

Knowing everything your job entails is a good step towards becoming a good research assistant.

Therefore, I will sincerely advise that you carefully read this research assistant job description guide from the first word to the last.


What do research assistants do?

Although the responsibility of a research assistant may depend on the scientist they are attached with, there are certain responsibilities that they perform irrespective of their supervisor.

In order to successfully perform any research as fast as possible, professors and scientists usually require the services of a research assistant.

Under the supervision of professor and/or scientists, research assistant performs experiments, they collect and analyse data.

They help senior researchers perform less technical and critical experiments in order to create time for the researcher perform more technical duties.

They also perform several administrative duties in the research laboratory.

Such administrative duties include responding to phone calls and taking records.

But, there is a limit to the duties or tasks a research assistant can perform. This depends on the UW/UAW contract for Academic Student Employees (ASEs).

A research assistant who is hardworking and serious may gain experience and study more to eventually become a researcher or professor letter in life.

What are the duties and responsibilities of a research assistant?

Although a researcher or professor may assign more duties to a research assistant, Here are some of the duties and responsibilities of a research assistant commonly featured on the job description:

1. Prepare and collate interview questions

Before conducting an interview with subjects, it is the duty of a research assistant to prepare and compile all necessary interview questions.

These questions must be relevant to the research subject.

Whenever it is necessary, it is also their responsibility to keep the identity of the subject confidential.

2. Interviewing subjects

After preparing interview questions, research assistants are also saddled with the responsibility of interviewing subjects.

They book interview appointments with the subjects.

And on the appointed day, they interview them. During the Interview, research assistants must ensure that they take an accurate record of the subject’s statements.

3. Supervise undergraduate students

Research assistants are academic students employees who assist faculty professors in conducting research.

Under graduate students may also be involved in certain research.

In that case, it is the responsibility of the research assistant to supervise the undergraduates.

They are to ensure that all undergraduate adhere to all necessary lab regulations and supervise them whenever they are conducting any experiment.

4. Monitor project budget

Every organisation works with a budget and so do researchers.

For every research and experiment carried out, there is always a budget.

It is the duty of the research assistant to monitor the budget and ensure that it is adhered to.

While purchasing experimental tools and reagents, the research budget is taken into consideration.

5. Perform literature review

It is the duty of a research assistant to perform a literature review.

In respect to a research topic, research assistants review books, articles and any other relevant resources relevant to that area of research.

After that, they describe, evaluate and summarize these materials in relation to the research topic.

Other duties and responsibilities of research assistants commonly featured in their job description include:

  • Making experimental data available for researchers or supervisors.
  • Purchasing equipment that is relevant for particular research.
  • attending to research related mails.
  • Performing administrative tasks such as answering calls and keeping project records.
  • Assist lab technicians to perform experiments.
  • Summarise interviews.
  • Attending project meetings.
  • Prepare research reports.
  • Prepare and maintain laboratory equipment.

You cannot be a good research assistant without knowing and understanding your duties and responsibilities.

Therefore, I will advise you to take this section of this job description seriously.

What qualification do I need to become a research assistant?

The minimum requirements or qualifications required to become a research assistant is work or academic experience in a related field as determined by the head researcher or supervisor.

Also, head researchers prefer research assistants who are familiar with the use of research software and equipment.

Research assistants are academic student employees employed to assist in conducting particular research.

Therefore, supervisors also look out for intelligent individuals with academic progress.

Proficiency in Microsoft Office suite is advantageous.

Individuals with a high school diploma and/or a college degree in relevant courses are also preferred.

What skills should a research assistant have?

Like I said earlier, a good research assistant job description should contain the skills a good research assistant should have.

Because this is a complete job description, here are some of the skills employers look out for in research assistants.

These skills make performing their duties and responsibilities easier.

1. Communication skills

A good research assistant should have strong written and verbal communication skills.

He or she should be able to communicate well in writing and verbally.

They should be capable of communicating the technical and non-technical aspect of their job.

2. Interpersonal skills

Research assistants should also have interpersonal skills.

They should be able to develop good relationships with other members of the research team including undergraduate students. 

3. Time management skills

Time management skills is also a relevant skill for a research assistant.

They should develop a good method of allocating time for all activities.

Their daily schedule should be time conserving and realistic as well.

4. Organisation skills

This skill is relevant for performing so many of the duties of a research assistant.

They have to be organised and careful when performing tests and analysis.

Also, this skill is necessary for operating and maintaining laboratory equipment.

In addition, this skill is necessary for keeping accurate project records.

It also helps to prevent laboratory accidents resulting from poor organisation.

5. Detail oriented

When conducting analysis and research, research assistants must give attention to details.

That is the only possible way they can reduce error and arrive at accurate results and conclusions.

6.Teamworking skills

Research assistants work as a team with scientists and professors to conduct experiments and research.

Therefore it is important that they possess a strong team spirit.

7. Independence

A good research assistant should be capable of conducting analysis and tests without the supervision of a senior colleague.

Although all results and summaries must be presented to a senior colleague for approval.

Employers also seek individuals with good interviewing skills.

An ideal candidate must also possess critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Ability to statistically analyse data using necessary software and tools is also a necessity for every research assistant.

The work environment of a clinical research assistant may be highly contagious.

Therefore, they must be able to adhere to all necessary safety and infection prevention measures.

Where do research assistants work?

Typically, research assistants are employed by academic institutions where professors and scientists conduct research.

But, here are some other employers of a research assistant:

  • Food and drink companies
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Chemical companies
  • Hospitals
  • Research institutes
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Schools
  • Research institutes
  • Civil service
  • Water companies
  • Environmental agencies.

Job postings or advertisements may be made online by recruitment agencies or offline via local newspapers, radio and television stations.

How much do research assistants make?

The salary of a research assistant varies depending on their title and pay level.

Research assistant 1 and research assistant 2 are not paid the same salary.

But, according to Glassdoor, on average, research assistants make up to $70,000 per year.

Their salary ranges from $30,000 to $100,000 per year.

Other factors that may determine the salary of a research assistant include:

  • Location
  • Experience
  • Qualification
  • Employer.

Research assistants who work for bigger research institutes may be paid better than their colleagues who work in smaller places.

It is important to note that the pay of a research assistant is also dependent on the ASE’s present academic status.

Research assistant work environment and schedule

Research assistants usually work in laboratories where they conduct experiments.

Sometimes their work environment may be highly contagious and dangerous, therefore it is necessary that they adhere to safety and health precautions

Usually, they work whenever experiments are being conducted, therefore their working hours and days is determined by the head researcher.

What should I include in my research assistant resume?

When creating a research assistant resume, you may want to include everything that is capable of convincing the head researcher or supervisor that you are qualified for the job.

Some of the information you should consider featuring include:

  • Years of experience
  • Area of experience
  • Place of experience
  • Qualification
  • Skills

During your interview, don’t overlook the importance of making reference to the above information.

When creating a professional resume, don’t hesitate to make use of this free research assistant job description guide.

Conclusion: research assistant job description guide

Research assistants are very important to every research process.

For those who intend to become professors and/or researchers, starting as a research assistant is certainly a good idea.

This job description was compiled with research assistants in mind.

But it can also serve as a template for organisations for creating a research assistant job description.

Organisations who use this article as a template should feel free to make necessary adjustments to suit their needs.

Other job descriptions:


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