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How Do I Become a Survey Researcher?

T. Carrier
T. Carrier

A survey researcher is a collector of opinions. He or she is responsible for designing and implementing the information-gathering tools various organizations use to better understand customers and other individuals. Higher education qualifications in areas like marketing, mathematics, and social sciences are vital. A well-equipped survey researcher should also gain experience through internships and volunteering. Professional certification is another useful step for the prospective survey researcher.

One main tool used to understand how people feel about a topic or series of topics is the survey. Surveys usually consist of questions that request an individual’s opinion about various aspects of a product or issue. Surveys are typically presented either in written form or are conducted via telephone or, occasionally, face-to-face. As such, survey researcher duties likely include determining the format and content of the survey, and may also include presenting the surveys to individuals.

A woman taking a survey.
A woman taking a survey.

In order to become a survey researcher, a prospect must obtain a wellspring of knowledge via strong academic credentials. This background will typically include a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, with strong emphasis in marketing and business course subjects. More specific skills can be learned in classes targeted toward developing surveys and other measures. Courses in statistics and psychology could also prove invaluable in developing and interpreting surveys.

Survey researchers collect information about how people view specific subjects.
Survey researchers collect information about how people view specific subjects.

While a solid foundation is important, an individual wishing to become a survey researcher must consistently develop and adapt needed skills. Obtaining a master’s degree in social science or marketing can help ensure that anyone seeking to become a survey researcher will retain a competitive edge. An individual can further seek professional certification from professional marketing associations. Remaining a faithful follower of industry trends and advancement will also prove invaluable.

Practical experience is another crucial aspect of any career endeavor, particularly in an interactive field like survey research. Internships with regional organizations are one means of gaining needed hands-on training. In addition, a prospect desiring to become a survey researcher might volunteer services to a non-profit organization or any other small business for which he or she has a passion.

A detail-oriented individual with an affinity for mathematics, research, and understanding individual behavior might possess the right capabilities and aptitude to become a survey researcher. Developed interpersonal skills like patience and good-natured persistence are further highly desired attributes in this line of work. An individual should ideally be an analytical problem solver who can address concerns either alone or in a team.

Numerous settings may suit survey researcher careers. Specific consulting or research firms consist of groups of analysts who work on a contracted basis for various clients. Some of the larger potential clients may offer full-time research positions. These can include financial services businesses, healthcare groups, and advertising agencies.

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    • A woman taking a survey.
      By: Mark Hayes
      A woman taking a survey.
    • Survey researchers collect information about how people view specific subjects.
      By: Andres Rodriguez
      Survey researchers collect information about how people view specific subjects.