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Research Consultant Duties and Responsibilities

Job duties vary widely for research consultants based on the type of research they conduct and the hiring company's industry focus. However, these core duties are usually associated with the job:

Plan Research Strategies Research consultants design research strategies to fulfill the needs of specific research projects. This includes estimating the amount of time it will take to complete research and creating a basic plan of action for finding the necessary data.

Find and Collect Data Research consultants implement research plans to find and collect data. This may include studying reports, using online sources, taking phone surveys, and using a variety of other data-collection methods.

Interpret and Analyze Data Research consultants interpret and analyze research data, mining it for relevant information.

Write Research Reports Research consultants write research reports highlighting and summarizing essential information found through their data analysis.

Verify Data Research consultants verify their findings by assigning investigative teams to double-check data by going out into the field to physically track down information.

Present Research Research consultants present their findings verbally to summarize essential information learned through data collection and analysis.


Research Consultant Skills and Qualifications

Research consultants carefully and thoroughly analyze data to find relevant information that's useful to the hiring company, then distill this information into readable and presentable reports. Employers seek out research consultants who have the following skills:
  • Research skills - because research consultants are primarily researchers who find and collect data, employers look for candidates with exceptional and proven research skills
  • Analytical thinking - research consultants use analytical skills to process and understand the data they collect, and to sort pertinent information out from a large amount of data
  • Team management - as research consultants sometimes direct investigative researchers who work in the field, management skills are an essential element for success in this career
  • Mathematics - research consultants study statistics, financial reports, and other number-driven data, which requires some skill with mathematics and a strong understanding of numerical figures
  • Computer skills - research consultants need excellent computer skills to find and collect data, create reports, and prepare presentations
  • Communication skills - research consultants present written and verbal research reports, which requires advanced communication skills

Research Consultant Education and Training

Employers require research consultants to have a high school diploma or equivalent at minimum, and many employers additionally require an industry-related bachelor's degree. A majority of employers only hire research consultants who have previous experience performing research analysis or data collection. Work experience can be substituted for a formal degree. Some on-the-job training is provided to research consultants, but most employers look for candidates who already understand the basics of data collection and analysis. Training is typically conducted over a brief period of time that varies by company.

Research Consultant Salary and Outlook

According to PayScale, the median annual income for research consultants is $70,715. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that market research analysts earn $63,230 annually. Market research analysts study and analyze market research, performing many of the same daily job duties as research consultants. Further BLS estimates show this field growing 23 percent through 2026. This rate is much faster than the national job growth average. Research consultants receive benefits packages that include medical, dental, vision, disability, and life insurance coverage. Many employers also provide employees with retirement benefits, paid vacation leave, paid holidays, and sick days.

Helpful Resources

Discover various research strategies, find job opportunities, and learn tips for career development as a research consultant using these books and websites:

Computing Research Association - this website is full of resources for research consultants and other professional researchers. Visit CRA to find upcoming training and networking events, job opportunities, data reports, and other professional content

Your Statistical Consultant: Answers to Your Data Analysis Questions - use this book to learn better techniques for working with statistics to conduct detailed and successful data analysis

Materials Research Society - this website is full of career advancement resources for materials research consultants, including job opportunities, meeting and event dates, research programs, and industry news updates

Strategic Market Research: A Guide to Conducting Research That Drives Businesses - this book focuses on the strategies that market research consultants need to perform in-depth research and data analysis American Marketing Association - this website is full of research tips and strategies, including information about global research and data metrics. The site also offers career opportunities, training event information, and member benefits

Market Research in Practice: An Introduction to Gaining Greater Market Insight - learn tips for developing market research approaches with this step-by-step guide for market research consultants

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