what is a researcher?

Researchers are professionals who—as the name suggests—engage in research. In this profession, you apply scientific, theoretical, or practical methods to collect, analyse, and interpret data in your field of specialisation. Researchers work in a variety of fields, such as science, technology, medicine, engineering, social sciences, and humanities. You can be employed in universities, research institutions, government agencies, non-governmental organisations, or private companies.

The research activities you engage in involve the identification of problems, formulation of questions, development of hypotheses, collection of data, analysis of data, and interpretation of results. You use different methods to collect data and analyse it using statistical or other analytical tools that enable you to draw conclusions from your findings.

You have excellent critical thinking skills and excel at problem-solving. You are able to work independently and as part of a team and have excellent communication skills, both oral and written. You also report your findings to other researchers, policymakers, or the general public. Succeeding in this profession requires effective time management and self-organisation.

If this profession sounds like it would suit your natural curiosity and analytical skills, read on! You’ll find out more, including what skills, competencies, and qualifications you need to thrive as a researcher.

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average salary of a researcher

According to Payscale, the average salary of a researcher is ₹420,000 per year. However, the range of pay for this profession is quite large, with the lowest-earning researchers making ₹160,000 per year and the highest earners making as much as ₹18,00,000 per year.

factors that affect researcher’s pay

The area in which you specialise can significantly affect your salary. If you work in a high-demand field, such as biotechnology, data science or renewable energy, you may command higher salaries compared to those in less sought-after areas.

The extent of your educational background also plays a role in determining your pay. Higher qualifications, such as a PhD or postdoctoral experience, will often lead to increased earnings. Having a degree will certainly give you more leverage when negotiating your salary.

As with most professions, your experience will often impact your potential salary. If you have gained more experience in your field, you will generally receive higher pay than your less experienced counterparts.


types of researchers

There are different types of researcher roles, each with unique aspects. Some of these types include:

  • academic researchers: in this role, you are a researcher who works in universities or research institutions and conducts research in your field of specialisation. You may also teach.
  • industry researchers: industry researchers work for private companies. You conduct research to develop new products, improve existing products, or solve practical problems.
  • government researchers: as a government researcher, you work for government agencies conducting research to inform policy decisions, improve public services, or solve practical problems.
  • non-governmental organisation researchers: this type of researcher works for non-profit organisations. You conduct research to inform advocacy, raise awareness, or solve practical problems.

working as a researcher

Being a researcher can be a fulfilling career in which you put your inquisitive nature to use in solving problems. Keep reading to learn more about the responsibilities, work schedule, and job outlook of a researcher.


education and skills

Some of the academic qualifications for researchers include:

  • bachelor's degree: a bachelor's degree in a relevant field should be considered a minimum requirement for most research positions. A bachelor's degree typically takes four years to complete and provides a foundation in the field of study.
  • master's degree: a master's degree is a graduate-level degree that provides advanced knowledge and skills in a particular field of study. A master's degree typically takes two years to complete and may be required for certain research positions.
  • doctorate degree: this is the highest level of academic qualification in a field of study. It will typically take you three to five years to complete and involves conducting independent research in a specialised area. A PhD is often required for academic or advanced research positions.
  • certifications: some research positions require specific certifications in addition to academic qualifications. For example, a researcher working with laboratory animals may need to have a certification in animal care.

researcher skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a researcher include:

  • data analysis: researchers should be able to collect, organise, and analyse data using appropriate software tools such as Excel and similar software packages.
  • statistical analysis: you are able to perform statistical analyses to draw valid conclusions from your data.
  • research methodology: you have a strong understanding of research methodology, including study design, sampling techniques, and ethical considerations.
  • critical thinking: critical thinking skills are essential to evaluate information, identify patterns, and draw conclusions based on the evidence.
  • problem-solving: researchers are able to identify research problems, develop hypotheses, and develop innovative solutions to research questions.
  • communication skills: you have excellent communication skills to present your research findings in written or oral formats. You are able to explain complex concepts to different audiences, including policymakers, researchers, and the general public.
how to write successful job descriptions.
how to write successful job descriptions.

FAQs about working as a researcher

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a researcher.

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