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You are here: The Job Explorer > Job Description > Research Specialist

Research Specialist Duties and Responsibilities

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Purpose of Classification:

Performs a wide variety of standard laboratory and/or field experimental procedures and/or surveys and excavations at the full operational level of skill in one field of specialty or performs a limited variety of non-standard laboratory and/or field experimental procedures and/or surveys and excavations.

Distinguishing Characteristics:

This is fifth in a series of seven classifications and is distinguished from the Research Technician in that incumbents modify and adapt standard procedures to meet the needs of the project, analyze data instead of performing the preliminary analysis, assist with writing papers and manuscripts for publication and may lead and coordinate the work of a staff. Incumbents may be assigned to one of various types of areas such as physical sciences or other specialized fields. Incumbents may be required to travel to remote locations to perform research experiments coordinate site surveys and excavations and may be required to work with potentially hazardous materials such as toxic chemicals, radiation and/or disease causing organisms.

Examples of Duties:

  • Performs skilled procedures, tests and analyses requiring the delicate manipulation and/or fine adjustments to equipment in response to activity of the sample or specimen being used.
  • Analyzes data and writes research progress reports including summarizing test results of participating investigators and assists in the preparation and writing of papers for publication; assists in writing reports on one or more aspects for large archaeological projects.
  • Performs administrative functions such as assisting in projecting budgets and procuring laboratory space, supplies and equipment.
  • Coordinates and/or conducts library and computer searches for research or archaeological data, some of which may include specialized archival research; modifies, adapts or varies standard procedures to meet the needs of the project and improves tests that are unsatisfactory.
  • Assists in the design and implementation of statistical techniques and computer data systems including establishing coding formats for future scientific research data collection.
  • Assists in judging the validity of data obtained from experimental procedures and recommends additional tests and/or modifications.
  • Generates computerized statistical data for analytical purposes using a variety of scientific software packages; interprets data for research or archaeological projects.
  • Creates and manages databases for studies which includes setting up database and associated data entry programs and retrieving data from database for purposes of analyses or data review.
  • Designs and modifies questionnaires or other data collection or sampling instruments or data summarization methods, procedures or reporting formats.
  • Operates and maintains laboratory and experimental equipment such as microtomes, microscopes, electron microscopes, spectrophotometers, centrifuges, analytical balances, photometers,
  • spectrometers and vacuum and optical coating systems; performs repairs and makes arrangements for repairs to be performed; assists in the design and fabrication of research equipment.
  • Performs complex necropsies and surgical procedures on research animals.
  • Assists in the development of written operating procedures and performs quality control checks to ensure procedures are followed.
  • May supervise, train, evaulate, and coordinate the activities of subordinates.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Knowledge of the principles and techniques of the subject discipline.
  • Knowledge of modern research methods, data collection and analysis and skill in their application.
  • Skill in both verbal and written communication.
  • Skill in analyzing and evaluating data.
  • Skill in report writing.

Minimum Qualifications:

Bachelor's degree in a field appropriate to the area of assignment AND two years related research or archaeological experience; OR, Six years research or archaeological experience appropriate to the area of assignment; OR, Any equivalent combination of experience and/or education from which comparable knowledge, skills and abilities have been achieved.


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