If you are considering a career as a researcher, it isn't an easy path, especially if you didn't know you had a passion for research.
Speaking from experience as someone with dyslexia, it never occurred that I would end up being good with the written word and find a passion for research during a 3-year doctorate program. Now, I am working to break barriers and bring research to those who have the passion from the start or later down the road.
Are you considering becoming a researcher?
They say the best path to becoming a researcher comes from other researchers or picking the right educational path, which hasn't been true in my journey yet based on the former, and so far, the educational path hasn't seemed to help either. The following are things I have heard when applying for research jobs and found listed on Zippa:
Most companies have advised that they require a researcher to have a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as biology or chemistry.
Typical researcher job postings require 2-4 years of experience in related fields. How do you gain this, especially if you can't get your foot in the door?
Before becoming a researcher, standard job titles include internship, research assistant, and volunteer. These non-paid positions don't help if you have bills and/or a family to care for, but they are the only way to step into a research career. Really?
Hiring managers expect a researcher to have soft skills such as observation skills, communication skills, and analytical skills. It's hard to know if someone has this if you aren't hired.
It takes an average of 1-2 years of job training to become a researcher. However, if you can't get hired as a researcher, then where do you obtain this?
Getting a researcher certification like a Clinical Research Assistant will help you to earn more (in the works for me as soon as I am done with my doctorate as a bridge to help while also working on my research building through 5 Elements Coaching RDG).
"Statistically, 71.3% of researchers graduate with a bachelor's degree, and 13.2% of people in this position earn a master's degree. While most researchers have a college degree, it's possible to be successful as a researcher with only a high school degree. Our research shows that one out of every nine researchers were not college graduates." (Zippia)
This statement had me shaking my head because that doesn't feel correct, or maybe because I have too much education.. hmm? Or perhaps it's because I have a legal studies bachelor of science degree and not a degree in biology or chemistry?
Well, I am here to say that I'm afraid I have to disagree, no offense to the author of the Zippa article. This got me thinking about what I thought it took to be a quality researcher. I found a few articles on this topic, which was surprising, and one of them was from Elsevier, which listed "Top 5 Qualities of a Researcher," but it's inconclusive. Here is the list that resonates for what it takes to be a quality researcher:
Curiosity: Asking questions and wanting the answers even if they don't fit what you thought they would be. Do you have an endless thirst for knowledge? This is pertinent for research.
Analytical ability and foresight: They look for connections and interpret information. Do you like putting a puzzle together? Research is putting the pieces together and gathering what is needed without bias.
Determination: They try, try, and try again—a need to uncover the mysteries of the universe or at these where your interest lies.
Collaboration: Do you work well with others? Research usually requires a team of various sizes. It can be done individually, but most scenarios require more than one person.
Communication: They can communicate their findings effectively- verbally and in writing. Open communication is essential not only for the written manuscript but also from the beginning to the end of a project.
Creativity: Can you think creatively when it comes to problem-solving? You have to think outside the box and see inside the box simultaneously.
Objectivity: Are you able to maintain objectivity while gathering information? Human nature has a level of bias, but when researching a subject or area, you have to leave that outside the realm of research.
Originality: They contribute new knowledge to a field of study. What are your ideas, your hypothesis? Remember to be curious and not be afraid to ask because new ideas and knowledge are always needed.
Replicability: Other researchers should be able to replicate the study and obtain similar results. This is essential for research to be solid and the foundation of change. Make sure this occurs.
Reliability: The research results should be consistent and reliable along with you as a person. It takes organization and showing up no matter what else may be occurring in your life or speaking upfront if something comes up with being unable to follow through.
Becoming a researcher doesn't require you to be an undeniable, innate genius because then we would never have any research completed. It takes the ten attributes above to become a researcher and a sense of passion to do the digging; hence, this research development group is for nutritionists, coaches, herbalists, acupuncturists, and others. It's a place to learn, build communities, and allow the research doors to open to all. At present, we ask for volunteers for all positions, but with growth and your help, that won't always be the case!
Elsevier (n.d.) Top 5 Qualities of a Researcher. Retrieved from here.
George. E., ( 2023) Researcher.Life: Top 10 qualities and characteristics of a good researcher. Retrieved from here.
Zippa (2023) How to Become a Researcher. Retrieved from here.