Social research jobs can be found in the social sciences, which include sociology, social psychology, human geography, political science, social anthropology, and education. Social researchers are responsible for creating and conducting research projects. They have to be creative enough to come up with ways to collect information about their subjects or topic, and also be able to formulate ways to measure their results accurately.
Social research jobs in political science often involve learning how certain public policies affect citizens, and who specifically is affected. Jobs in anthropology involve learning how humans live and behave in society and in different social groups. In education, a social researcher would be expected to study different educational policies, or the different process of education. Human geography is another area where social research jobs are found, and an example of a job in this field is census work and interpretation of data.
Clearly, there are many different areas that are studied by social researchers. Social research jobs can also involve gender studies, unemployment, and public health. In basic terms, anything that deals with how humans interact, or how they are affected by certain aspects of life, such as policies, falls under the spectrum of social research.
A social researcher should expect to work with numbers, or data, which is usually derived from such tools as surveys. Questionnaires are another way of gathering data, as well as focus groups, interviews, and field observations. Researchers use different methods of research, such as qualitative or quantitative research. Quantitative research involves number crunching and data analysis, while qualitative research involves experiences and definitions.
Social researchers can often find employment at social research centers and organizations, which can be found around the world. Some of the larger centers are the Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and Information, in the U.S.; Institute for Social Research, located in Germany; the Matrix Knowledge Group, in the UK; The Arab Center for Applied Social Research in Israel; as well as the Economic and Social Research Council in the U.K.
Colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, as well as privately funded groups often hire social researchers. Most large universities employ social science researchers and research assistants. There are also opportunities to work for the U.S. federal government as a social science research analyst
Because policies, demographics, and the overall population of the world is constantly changing, the need for social researchers remains strong. Social research jobs usually require at least a high school education, and the higher paying positions commonly require the completion of college.