Public opinion researchers work a standard forty-hour work week, sometimes with tight deadlines, but those in supervisory or management positions often work longer hours overseeing particular projects. Carefully worded interviews or questionnaires are the most significant of the methods researchers use to collect data. Target audience and the specific type of information desired affect the choice of data collection methods.
Researchers interested in buying trends during the Christmas shopping season might station interviewers at shopping malls. Market researchers often use telephone surveys to reach a particular demographic. Questionnaires may be administered to a carefully selected group or sample of people called a focus group.
For example, this book cover and several possible options for it were shown to groups of college students, their parents, and professionals thinking about switching jobs. They led us to the one that made you or the person who gave it to you buy it.
A degree in sociology or psychology is best for those interested in exploring consumer demand or opinion research. Those with a strong basis in statistics or engineering may find opportunities in industrial or analytical research. In addition, researchers must have strong people skills, be able to relate to people in a variety of social and cultural contexts, be good listeners, and be able to command the attention of the interviewee.
Patience and objectivity are critical. Whereas entrants with the requisite education, training and experience may start out as interviewers and data analysts, most applicants to the field of public opinion research enter as survey workers, research assistants or coders and tabulators, and move up to become interviewers or data analysts as they gain experience.
Since starting salaries are commensurate with the training and experience of the applicant and the professional capacity, and size of the company, entrants should try to gain experience and carefully explore salary levels and advancement potential of prospective companies. Present and Future The expanded awareness of the power and importance of polls and surveys in influencing consumers, policy makers and businesses ensures that public opinion research will continue to be a growth field.
As computers continue to play an increasingly important role in this area, applicants will need to demonstrate strong computer skills in addition to extensive training and higher degrees. Entry-level workers concentrate on acquiring the widest range of experience possible. The onus is on the worker to show initiative and drive by completing tasks according to schedule and volunteering for added duties and responsibilities.
At the five-year level, the researcher is well on her way to establishing herself as a thorough, highly motivated professional. The ambitious worker has probably returned to school for refresher courses, attended various seminars and workshops, and is skilled in the latest computer applications. At this juncture, the professional is wont to consider pursuing doctoral studies.
With a decade of research experience to his credit, the professional should now be in a top-level management or advisory position. Researchers in academia are tenured professors or department heads with a body of research material, books, and articles to show for it. Why The Princeton Review? Productive Preparation We know that great scores take work. Engaging Teachers We love our teachers, and so will you. In this highly accomplished, deeply technical and Sponsored - 3 days ago - save job.
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