Working in research with A levels (or similar)

At this level you will be supporting lead or senior project researchers and could be working in any industry sector.

You might collect data using a variety of methods, for example on the telephone or speaking to people in the community, so you will need good communication skills and an outgoing personality.

You could work as a research assistant, doing administration to support senior researchers. In some areas of research you could be helping to produce resources for research.

Example jobs

Research assistant
Supporting the project manager with everyday tasks, making sure equipment and resources are set up, dealing with other departments, speaking to the public and liaising with the project manager/researcher to keep on track.

Research administrator
Filing, dealing with telephone calls, checking and prioritising emails, inputting data, writing up reports, setting up questionnaires for profilers.

Data collector
Working on national surveys for a market research business, collecting data by telephone or face to face with the public.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Salary rates depend on qualifications, skills, experience and location. If you are doing an apprenticeship, your pay might be lower but you will gain qualifications to progress in your career.

Pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

  • Research projects usually have set timescales for which funding is available. You would have to work to deadlines and fulfil the targets that are set for data gathering.
  • A great deal of the work involved is office-based. The office could be attached to a laboratory or a university.
  • Data gathering will involve talking to the public, perhaps outside or in shopping centres, or you might work in a call centre or online.

Qualifications needed

You will need good GCSEs and A Levels or equivalent in English, maths and science. For jobs in administration you will also need good communication and/or IT skills. The ability to speak other languages could be a plus for some jobs and you could get paid more, as many national and international organisations work globally.

Career path

You could study for a degree and eventually run your own research projects.

If you start in administration, you could study part-time for a degree in human resources, accounts or health and safety to obtain promotion to management.

You could also transfer to other industry sectors where your experience and skills would be useful. 

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