Part-Time Research Assistant Job Description, Key Duties and Responsibilities

By | December 4, 2023
Part-Time Research Assistant Job Description
Part-time research assistants are involved in analyzing complex qualitative and quantitative datasets using statistical software packages like R and SPSS.

This post provides detailed information on the part-time research assistant job description, including the key duties, tasks, and responsibilities they commonly perform.

It also highlights the major requirements you may be expected to meet to be hired for the part-time research assistant role.

What Does a Part-time Research Assistant Do?

A part-time research assistant helps carry out important research activities and provides vital support for lead scientists and academics.

This supplemental role focuses on executing critical components of studies from literature reviews to data collection and analysis.

It provides hands-on learning while making significant contributions.

Part-time research assistants typically report directly to the lead researcher or principal investigator overseeing a particular project or area.

This may be a professor, senior scientist, program director, or research manager.

The part-time research assistant job description involves receiving task assignments, guidance, and feedback from their direct supervisor.

It may also entails tasks such as coordinating teams, managing documentation for reporting compliance, and recruiting participants.

Their duties may also include handling schedules and communication, troubleshooting issues with tools/equipment, and providing administrative assistance, as well as helping prepare presentations.

Research assistants are employed across diverse institutions and geographic regions engaged in academic, nonprofit, government, or corporate research.

Common locations include universities, hospitals, think tanks, government agencies, NGOs, technology firms, and specialized research organizations in metropolitan areas.     

Most part-time assistant roles require some college-level coursework, though many incumbents are enrolled students at Bachelor’s or graduate level.

Relevant educational backgrounds suit different specialties like health sciences, engineering, computer science, and social sciences. On-the-job training provides further preparation.

The core functions of research assistants center on executing essential components of studies from literature reviews, instrument development, data collection and analysis, lab experiments, and field work to generate knowledge and answer research questions.

This hands-on involvement advances projects. 

Research assistants play an important support role advancing science, innovation, and policy across countries.

Their efforts to facilitate research projects, experiments, and data analysis contributes to discoveries and solutions on major issues from disease, climate change, social factors, technology, and more.

Employers seek candidates with intrinsic research interests, critical thinking abilities, attention to detail, communication and collaboration skills, proficiency in research methods and required tools/software, accountability, and time management skills to maximize their productivity.

Research assistants are generally not subject to licensing or extensive regulation given their supporting role.

However, they must adhere to relevant institutional oversight policies, ethical guidelines, and locality laws when directly interfacing with research participants and data collection.

Part-Time Research Assistant Job Description Example/Sample/Template

The part-time research assistant job description consists of the following duties, tasks, and responsibilities:

  • Keep records and documentation for compliance reporting purposes
  • Troubleshoot technical issues related to data collection tools, equipment or hardware
  • Make contributions to team efforts while completing assigned tasks as well as special projects
  • Conduct literature reviews using academic databases and resources to synthesize relevant prior research findings and background information, for assigned projects
  • Clean, process, and analyze complex qualitative and quantitative datasets using statistical software packages like R and SPSS 
  • Check data and calculations for accuracy and consistency
  • Provide general administrative and clerical support to research team 
  • Locate, obtain, and annotate key journal articles, studies, and reports to inform current research efforts
  • Assist with compiling literature reviews into manuscripts, grant applications, protocols, and IRB submissions
  • Analyze findings to identify meaningful patterns and trends, create data visualizations and figures to clearly present results
  • Recruit study participants who meet the eligibility criteria needed
  • Schedule and coordinate appointments for study visits involving procedures, interviews, focus groups, or observations 
  • Obtain informed consent paperwork from all participants enrolling in studies 
  • Administer surveys, questionnaires, assessments, and other data collection tools
  • Collect field notes, review survey responses, transcribe recordings and capture photographs of subjects and settings
  • Prepare the gathered data, for analysis purposes
  • Assist in the submission of applications for Institutional Review Board or ethics approvals for conducting studies
  • Utilize reference management programs like EndNote to organize citations effectively
  • Create summaries that outline the methodologies used and generate reports to present the findings of data analysis
  • Follow protocols and procedures throughout experimentation model testing and the collection and documentation of results
  • Conduct interviews, lead focus groups and engage in observations while adhering to established guidelines
  • Develop documents, presentations and visual aids for research meetings and events
  • Thoroughly review datasets, transcripts and results to ensure accuracy in all aspects
  • Manage communication with research participants as scheduling, for both participants and staff members involved.

Part-time Research Assistant Job Description for Resume

If you have worked before as a part-time research assistant or presently working in that role and are making a new resume or CV, then you can  create an effective Professional Experience section in your resume by applying the part-time research assistant job description sample presented above.

You can highlight the duties and responsibilities you have performed or currently performing as a part-time research assistant in your resume’s Professional Experience by utilizing the ones in the above part-time research assistant job description example.

This will show that you have been successful performing the functions of a part-time research assistant, which can boost your chances of being hired for the new position, especially if it requires some part-time research assistant work experience.  

Part Time Research Assistant Requirements: Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities for Career Success

Here are important skills, knowledge, and abilities candidates for the part-time research assistant position may be expected to fulfill to be hired:

  • Communication: Convey complex information clearly and listen effectively to interpret needs. Present at lab meetings or community events.
  • Writing: Prepare well-organized documents like literature reviews, research methodologies, protocols, and summaries of statistical analyses and findings.
  • Research: Understand and apply scientific methods to develop studies, create data collection instruments, conduct experiments, analyze results.
  • Critical Thinking – Exercise strong analytical skills and judgment when examining research questions, data, literature, findings. Assess accuracy and relevance.
  • Detail-oriented: Catch errors in datasets, calculations, protocols. Ensure consistency and accuracy. Notice patterns leading to insights.
  • Technical Skills: Master library databases, data analysis and visualization software, laboratory equipment, audio recording devices, and relevant computer programs. 
  • Time Management: Take initiative, prioritize tasks, work efficiently on multiple projects simultaneously to meet deadlines.
  • Teamwork: Collaborate productively in groups. Support lead researchers and staff in coordinated efforts.
  • Adaptability: Adjust to evolving research objectives and workplace changes. Translate feedback into improved performance.  
  • Integrity: Uphold ethical principles for data management, experiments involving animal/human participants. Avoid plagiarism or falsification.
  • Quantitative Skills: Can comprehend complicated numerical information and statistical data, as well as understand the mathematical and statistical ideas involved in research studies.

Having the above types of competencies allows assistants to consistently execute their assigned tasks with dedication, talent, and reliability.

By possessing and actively working to improve these skills, assistants become tremendously valued members of the research teams they serve, supporting studies that lead to meaningful impacts.

Part-time Research Assistant Salary

In May 2022, the typical yearly pay for part-time research assistants across the United States was about $29,140, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

When looking at average salaries by state, part-time research assistants earned the highest pay in 2022 in the following five areas:

  • California – $44,820
  • Massachusetts – $42,860
  • Maryland – $41,420
  • Connecticut – $41,340
  • New Jersey – $41,250.

So those were the top five highest-paying states for part-time assistants working in research last year.

California offered the most lucrative salaries, over $15,000 above the national median.


Part-time research assistants are crucial for progress in countless academic and scientific fields.

As we’ve discussed, the part-time research assistant job description involves important tasks like literature reviews, data analysis, field work, lab tests, and administrative duties that keep research running smoothly.

By playing these vital support roles, they help groundbreaking discoveries and innovations happen. 

For those interested in someday working in research or who want to earn income while engaged in other pursuits like graduate school, serving as a part-time assistant allows hands-on development of specialized skills.

You get exposure to the full research process from initial hypotheses to final peer-reviewed publications.

Technical abilities using tools like R, MATLAB, and laboratory equipment also translate valuably into many other industries. 

Likewise, for principal investigators and research managers, the value added by part-time assistants makes taking on more studies and experiments feasible.

Rather than only being able to pursue one inquiry at a time, key components can get delegated out to assistants so that more projects can run in parallel.

And assistants who receive effective mentoring often go on to transition smoothly into lead research roles themselves later on. 

In summary, part-time research assistants represent a versatile and integral function at organizations working to push knowledge frontiers and discoveries through rigorous investigation.

This piece aimed to illuminate several aspects of the role for both prospective assistants and the scientists who leverage their diligent efforts.

Hopefully, the overview of duties, qualifications, settings, career paths, and compensation provides beneficial guidance to those considering this accessible starting point into the world of research.