A freelance researcher finds, organizes, catalogs, and reports credible information for other individuals' various projects and endeavors. This type of professional researcher generally needs to have the creative capability of finding sources in areas that are not immediately obvious to the average layperson. He or she also has a definite skill set at performing Internet searches as well as at gathering information from off-line sources such as print documents, audio recordings, and videos. The average freelance researcher typically works on an independent contract basis for a range of businesses and organizations.
Working as a freelance researcher requires strong organizational skills and the ability to create professional presentations of the found information. Effectively communicating this data in easily understood formats can be accomplished with good oral and written presentations. Familiarity with other technologies such as slide show software and video conferencing also give the freelance researcher an advantage in terms of describing his or her findings in a business environment. This component of working as a researcher can be particularly valuable as a way to make favorable impressions that lead to future research assignments. A good researcher puts some time and effort into presentations as part of his or her work flow for each current assignment.
While a freelance researcher may do some in-house work for a certain company or group of companies, he or she may spend more time working out of a home office. This kind of freelancer generally devotes a good deal of time to performing online research, ideally with a high-speed Internet connection. Depending on the specific project requirements and area of expertise, he or she may also need to look for relevant primary sources in specialty record collections such as those in law or medical libraries. Since this kind of research is done on a freelance basis, the researcher often needs to regularly prepare client invoices and keep records of earnings for tax purposes.
Researcher training is primarily gained through the completion of a college degree in any specific area of study. The typical freelance researcher chooses to specialize in a certain area and perform research jobs within that industry; examples can include health care, travel, marketing, information technology, and law. Due to quick changes in technology, a freelance researcher may also obtain periodic additional training in the use of digital tools such as electronic databases and Web 2.0 applications that can be advantageous to the research process.