Psychology Research Jobs – Research Psychologists & Psychology Research Assistants

By psychologyjobs.com Staff Writer

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What is research psychology?

Research psychology is the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes through the use of research methods and empirical data. It involves investigating various aspects of human behavior, including cognition, perception, emotion, motivation, social behavior, personality, and psychopathology, among others.

The primary goal of research psychology is to increase our understanding of human behavior and mental processes, as well as to develop interventions and treatments to improve people’s lives. Research psychologists use a variety of research methods, including experiments, surveys, observational studies, and other techniques to gather data and test theories.

Research psychology has a wide range of applications, including the development of therapies for mental health disorders, the study of the effects of different environmental and social factors on behavior, and the design of interventions to improve cognitive and behavioral performance in various domains. It is an important field of study for anyone interested in understanding human behavior and mental processes.

“Working in research psychology can be incredibly rewarding because it allows you to explore questions that interest you and can contribute to important knowledge about human behavior and mental processes. However, it can also be challenging because it requires a lot of hard work, persistence, and attention to detail. It’s important to be comfortable with uncertainty, as research can be unpredictable and may not always yield the expected results. Ultimately, though, the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the field and to society as a whole can make the challenges of working in research psychology well worth it.”
Dr. Laura Scherer, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Missouri

Within this sphere there are, broadly speaking, two types of job available; research psychologist and psychology research assistant.

What is a research psychologist?

A research psychologist specializes in the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. They are trained to design and conduct experiments, surveys, and other types of studies in order to collect data and test theories about human behavior.

To become a research psychologist, you need as a minimum a master’s degree and more typically a doctoral degree in psychology. In addition to completing a doctoral degree, research psychologists may also need to obtain licensure or certification to practice in their state, particularly if they plan to work with clients or patients.

Here are the key areas of focus for a research psychologist:

  • Designing and conducting research studies: designing and implementing research studies to investigate various aspects of human behavior and mental processes. They may use a variety of research methods, such as experiments, surveys, or observational studies, to collect data and test theories.
  • Analyzing data: analyzing the data they collect to draw conclusions about human behavior and mental processes. They use statistical analysis and other techniques to identify patterns and relationships in the data.
  • Reporting research findings: communicating their research findings to other professionals in the field, as well as to the general public. They may write research articles for academic journals or present their findings at conferences or other events.
  • Ethical considerations: following ethical guidelines when conducting research, including obtaining informed consent from participants, protecting their privacy and confidentiality, and minimizing any potential harm or discomfort to participants.
  • Collaborating with others: collaborate with other professionals, such as clinicians, educators, and policymakers, to apply their research findings to real-world problems. They may work as part of a research team or as consultants to other professionals.

Here is what your daily schedule as a research psychologist might look like:

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM: Check and respond to emails, review research literature relevant to current projects

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM: Design and plan an upcoming research study, review and analyze data from a previous study

10:30 AM – 11:00 AM: Break

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM: Meet with research team to discuss ongoing projects, review progress, and plan next steps

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM: Lunch

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM: Conduct research participant interviews or experiments, record data

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Analyze research data, update research documentation and records

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Attend a departmental meeting or seminar to learn about the latest research findings in the field

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Write a research article for a peer-reviewed journal or work on a grant proposal

What is a psychology research assistant?

A psychology research assistant is someone who works under the supervision of a research psychologist to assist with research projects.

To become a research assistant, it can be helpful to have a degree in psychology or a related field, but it is not always a requirement. Some research assistant positions may only require a high school diploma or an associate’s degree, while others may require a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree.

Here are the key responsibilities of a psychology research assistant:

  • Supporting research activities: This may involve assisting with study design, data collection, data management, and data analysis.
  • Recruiting participants: recruiting study participants through various means such as online recruitment, telephone, or face-to-face contact.
  • Conducting literature reviews: assist in conducting literature reviews to help researchers identify existing research on a topic and inform their research questions.
  • Administering surveys and assessments: responsible for administering surveys and assessments to study participants, either in-person or online.
  • Data entry and management: responsible for entering data into a computer program, organizing data sets, or managing research databases.
  • Assisting with ethical considerations: assist in ensuring ethical considerations are met during the research process, including obtaining informed consent from participants, protecting their privacy and confidentiality, and minimizing any potential harm or discomfort to participants.
  • Supporting research dissemination: assist in disseminating research findings through academic publications, presentations, or other means.

Here is an example daily schedule of a psychology research assistant:

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Check and respond to emails, review literature relevant to current projects

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Assist with recruitment efforts, such as posting flyers or sending emails to potential study participants

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Conduct participant interviews or administer surveys, record data

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Manage research databases

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Conduct literature reviews to help researchers identify existing research on a topic and inform their research questions

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Meet with research team to discuss ongoing projects, review progress, and plan next steps

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Attend a departmental meeting or seminar to learn about the latest research findings in the field

Where do they work?

  • Universities and research institutions: Many research psychologists also teach psychology in addition to their research duties.
  • Government agencies: employed by government agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to conduct research related to public health or other government priorities.
  • Private research firms: Some research psychologists and research assistants may work for private research firms that conduct research on behalf of clients, such as pharmaceutical companies or marketing firms.
  • Non-profit organizations: Research psychologists and research assistants may also be employed by non-profit organizations that conduct research related to social or environmental issues.
  • Hospitals and clinics: Research psychologists and research assistants may also work in hospitals and clinics, conducting research related to mental health disorders or other health issues.

How to become a psychology research assistant

  1. Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent: Most research assistant positions require a high school diploma or equivalent.
  2. Earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field: While not always required, having a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field can be beneficial for securing a research assistant position. This can provide you with a strong foundation in research methods, statistics, and psychology.
  3. Gain relevant experience: Many research assistant positions require previous research experience, which can be obtained through internships, volunteer work, or research assistantships while in college.
  4. Develop necessary skills and qualifications: Research assistant positions require specific skills and qualifications, such as proficiency in Microsoft Office and statistical software, attention to detail, strong organizational skills, and the ability to work independently or as part of a team. Developing these skills through coursework or relevant work experience can help you to be a competitive candidate for these positions.
  5. Search for research assistant positions: Research assistant positions can be found through PsychologyJobs.com, university career centers, and professional networking sites. You may also consider reaching out directly to research institutions or labs to inquire about potential opportunities.

How to become a research psychologist

Becoming a research psychologist requires a more significant investment of time and effort.

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree: The first step to becoming a research psychologist is to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field.
  2. Earn a master’s degree: many doctoral programs require a master’s degree in psychology or a related field.
  3. Obtain a doctoral degree: Research psychologists typically hold a doctoral degree in psychology, such as a PhD or a PsyD. These programs typically take 5-7 years to complete and involve coursework, research, and clinical experience.
  4. Gain research experience: Research experience is essential for becoming a research psychologist. You can gain research experience through internships, research assistantships, or working as a research coordinator.
  5. Obtain licensure or certification: Depending on the state where you plan to work, you may need to obtain licensure to practice as a psychologist. Licensure requirements vary, but typically involve completing supervised clinical experience, and passing the EPPP licensing exam.
  6. Find a job: You can search for job opportunities through PsychologyJobs.com, professional networking sites, or contacting potential employers directly.

See also; how to become a psychologist.

Research psychology salaries

The median annual wage for research assistants in psychology is $49,850

The median annual wage for research psychologists is $79,000

Both figures sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For more detailed insights visit our research psychologist salary guide.

Latest Psychology Research Job Listings

PositionCompanyLocationPosted
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The Carruth Center for Counseling and Psychological Services at West Virginia University is currently accepting applications for a Behavioral Health Therapist for Athletics. About the Opportunity This positionprovides multiculturally-sensitive brief counseling (virtual and in person) and performance enhancement services for student athletes with diverse presenting concerns. We strongly believe in work-life … More
Child & Adolescent Research Psychologist F73570- Department of Psychiatry-SOMVirginia Commonwealth University Richmond, Virginia US05/16/2024
Mission or Goal of Unit: The Department of Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University has a mission to improve the mental health of individuals and families through clinical care, research, education and public awareness.Chief Purpose of the Position:The Department of Psychiatry in collaboration with Massey Cancer Center and Children’s Hospital of Richmond is seeking a research focused candidate as a senior faculty member in its Child and Adolescent … More
Adjunct Instructor, PsychologySimmons University Boston, Massachusetts US05/14/2024
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Instructor, Psychology (Part-time)Milwaukee Area Technical College Wisconsin US05/13/2024
Characteristic Duties and Responsibilities Prepare for and deliver instruction and perform teaching-related activities. Manage the classroom/laboratory. Develop curriculum and monitor and revise as appropriate to maintain course effectiveness; assist in program evaluation. Manage equipment, supplies, and materials. Assess student performance and advise students on academic issues. … More
Breast Imager–Partnership Track with Option for No Nights/No Weekends/No Holidays!Radiology, Inc. Columbus, Ohio US04/21/2024
Breast Imager: seeking fellowship trained (or equivalent experience), full or part-time radiologist to join a large private practice (not owned by an equity firm) based out of Columbus, Ohio. Opportunity to practice either breast imaging alone or breast imaging plus general radiology. Both options include partnership track. Daily duties will include screening and diagnostic digital 2D and 3D mammography, diagnostic breast ultrasound, automated breast ultrasound screening, ultrasound … More
Breast Imager–Partnership Track with Option for No Nights/No Weekends/No Holidays!Radiology, Inc. Columbus, Ohio US04/11/2024
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Assistant Professor of PsychologyLasell University Newton, Massachusetts US03/25/2024
Assistant Professor of PsychologyThe Social Sciences Program in the School of Humanities, Education, Justice & Social Sciences at Lasell University is seeking a Full-Time Assistant Professor in the area of Clinical, Counseling, or Community Psychology (appointment at a more senior level may be considered, commensurate with experience) for a September, 2024 start date. Our program offers a major in Psychology with a focus on combining professional skill … More
Postdoctoral Fellow: evaluating the proximate causes and evolutionary consequencesIndiana University Indiana US05/14/2023
Position SummaryPostdoctoral Fellow: evaluating the proximate causes and evolutionary consequences of developmental plasticityWe are seeking a highly motivated and creative individual to join the Ledn-Rettig lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Indiana University. We use interdisciplinary approaches to understand both the proximate mechanisms mediating developmental plasticity and its ecological and evolutionary outcomes. To answer these questions, we use … More
Position
The Carruth Center for Counseling and Psychological Services at West Virginia University is currently accepting applications for a Behavioral Health Therapist for Athletics. About the Opportunity This positionprovides multiculturally-sensitive brief counseling (virtual and in person) and performance enhancement services for student athletes with diverse presenting concerns. We strongly believe in work-life … More
Company
University of West Virginia
Location
Morgantown, West Virginia US
Posted
06/03/2024
Position
Mission or Goal of Unit: The Department of Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University has a mission to improve the mental health of individuals and families through clinical care, research, education and public awareness.Chief Purpose of the Position:The Department of Psychiatry in collaboration with Massey Cancer Center and Children’s Hospital of Richmond is seeking a research focused candidate as a senior faculty member in its Child and Adolescent … More
Company
Virginia Commonwealth University
Location
Richmond, Virginia US
Posted
05/16/2024
Position
Adjunct Instructor, PsychologyMain Campus – Boston, MAMain Campus – Boston, MAMain Campus – Boston, MAR09692Overview of SimmonsLocated in the Longwood Medical Area of Boston, Simmons has a strong tradition of empowering women and of challenging traditional gender roles. Simmons University was one of the first higher education institutions to focus on preparing women to become leaders and has evolved to become a university offering … More
Company
Simmons University
Location
Boston, Massachusetts US
Posted
05/14/2024
Position
Characteristic Duties and Responsibilities Prepare for and deliver instruction and perform teaching-related activities. Manage the classroom/laboratory. Develop curriculum and monitor and revise as appropriate to maintain course effectiveness; assist in program evaluation. Manage equipment, supplies, and materials. Assess student performance and advise students on academic issues. … More
Company
Milwaukee Area Technical College
Location
Wisconsin US
Posted
05/13/2024
Position
Breast Imager: seeking fellowship trained (or equivalent experience), full or part-time radiologist to join a large private practice (not owned by an equity firm) based out of Columbus, Ohio. Opportunity to practice either breast imaging alone or breast imaging plus general radiology. Both options include partnership track. Daily duties will include screening and diagnostic digital 2D and 3D mammography, diagnostic breast ultrasound, automated breast ultrasound screening, ultrasound … More
Company
Radiology, Inc.
Location
Columbus, Ohio US
Posted
04/21/2024
Position
Breast Imager: seeking fellowship trained (or equivalent experience), full or part-time radiologist to join a large private practice (not owned by an equity firm) based out of Columbus, Ohio. Opportunity to practice either breast imaging alone or breast imaging plus general radiology. Both options include partnership track. Daily duties will include screening and diagnostic digital 2D and 3D mammography, diagnostic breast ultrasound, automated breast ultrasound screening, ultrasound … More
Company
Radiology, Inc.
Location
Columbus, Ohio US
Posted
04/11/2024
Position
Assistant Professor of PsychologyThe Social Sciences Program in the School of Humanities, Education, Justice & Social Sciences at Lasell University is seeking a Full-Time Assistant Professor in the area of Clinical, Counseling, or Community Psychology (appointment at a more senior level may be considered, commensurate with experience) for a September, 2024 start date. Our program offers a major in Psychology with a focus on combining professional skill … More
Company
Lasell University
Location
Newton, Massachusetts US
Posted
03/25/2024
Position
Position SummaryPostdoctoral Fellow: evaluating the proximate causes and evolutionary consequences of developmental plasticityWe are seeking a highly motivated and creative individual to join the Ledn-Rettig lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Indiana University. We use interdisciplinary approaches to understand both the proximate mechanisms mediating developmental plasticity and its ecological and evolutionary outcomes. To answer these questions, we use … More
Company
Indiana University
Location
Indiana US
Posted
05/14/2023