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Social Science Research Assistant Career

Career Description

Social science research assistants assist social scientists in laboratory, survey,  and other social research. They may perform publication activities, laboratory analysis, quality control, or data management. Normally these individuals work under the direct supervision of a social scientist and assist in those activities which are more routine.

Common Work Tasks

  • Prepare, manipulate, and manage extensive databases
  • Provide assistance with the preparation of project-related reports, manuscripts, and presentations
  • Obtain informed consent of research subjects and/or their guardians
  • Perform descriptive and multivariate statistical analyses of data, using computer software
  • Verify the accuracy and validity of data entered in databases; correct any errors
  • Prepare tables, graphs, fact sheets, and written reports summarizing research results
  • Edit and submit protocols and other required research documentation
  • Develop and implement research quality control procedures
  • Conduct internet-based and library research
  • Present research findings to groups of people

Other Job Titles

Social Science Research Assistants are also known by other titles, including:

  • Social Scientists
  • Sociologists
  • Political Scientists
  • Historians

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Social science research assistants usually must have a bachelor’s degree in sociology or a related field, or relevant work experience for this job.

Social scientists need excellent written and oral communication skills to report research findings and to collaborate on research. Successful social scientists also need intellectual curiosity and creativity because they constantly seek new information about people, things, and ideas. The ability to think logically and methodically is also essential to analyze complicated issues, such as the relative merits of various forms of government. Objectivity, an open mind, and systematic work habits are important in all kinds of social science research.


The median annual salary for a Social Science Research Assistant is $36,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $58,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $22,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of social science research assistants are:

  • Scientific Research and Development Services - $40,420
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools - $34,150
  • Local Government - $42,800
  • Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services - $40,120
  • Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services  - $33,980

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  N/A
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: N/A
  • Employment 2006 : N/A
  • Employment 2016:  N/A
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