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Monday, January 12, 2015

Who is a researcher?

Originally Published: January 12, 2015
Written by Arjun Pandey
Edited by Sarina Lalla and Abeera Shahid

Because of the broad nature of scientific research, the definition of a researcher is open-ended. A scientific researcher is considered to be anyone who attempts to improve our understanding of science often by building upon research done by others. There are three primary types of researchers: amateur researchers, university researchers, and private/company-based researchers.

Amateur researchers are ordinary, everyday people, with no qualifications or degrees, who attempt to broaden the horizons of science by conducting research. Individuals as young as 11 or 12, who participate in local science fairs are examples of this type of researcher.
University-based and company-based researchers are considered to be professional ones, and typically have degrees in the subject area of their research. To become a professional researcher, one usually needs a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a PhD. A bachelor’s degree commonly takes 4 years to earn, a master’s degree takes an additional two years, and a PhD can take another 4-5 years after that. A bachelor’s or master’s degree will typically suffice for company-based researchers, while senior company positions and university researchers require a PhD.

A university researcher is an individual who receives grants and is funded by a university to do scientific research. This type of researcher has more freedom and flexibility because they do research based on what they think is important. A company-based researcher on the other hand is someone who is employed by a private corporation to investigate scientific fields for often the purpose of profit. At companies such as The Berma Research Group, researchers have a set focus and deadlines.

It is important to remember that these three types of researchers will make a difference in the world of science, and depending who you are and what environment you want to work in, you can pick which branch you prefer. This is one of the many reasons that research is so diverse, but every research helps science move a step forward, no matter what.

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