So I want to Become a Researcher, what do I need to know?

A researcher is someone who conducts research.

Research is an organized and systematic investigation into something or someone or a group, in order to increase the knowledge and the use of this knowledge to devise new applications.

Researchers probe deeply into specific types of areas under discussion to learn new things, develop theories, construct procedures and come up with real-world applications for their findings. Researchers can work for universities, non-profit organizations, agencies, corporations, medical facilities, specialist research organizations, government organizations among others.

To become a researcher, there are a number of things you would need to know:

Identify your focus: While there is a great deal of cross-disciplinary intersection in a lot of research fields, focusing on certain areas of interest will help you pursue the right type of education essential to secure the most suitable research opportunities. For example, if you are interested in Environmental research, your focus should be on the environment, preservation laws, cause of extinction, pollution and effect on the Environment etc.

Find the right university program: A lot of research is initiated at the university level, often working in partnership with government agencies. Consider the most respected research universities in your area while taking note of the best price range and choose your preferred school based on relevance to your field of study. Find a program that provides research opportunities beginning at the undergraduate level. This would help you start learning research methods and making valuable connections from the beginning and get you familiar with research processes early on.

Take advantage of opportunities- While in an academic setting, you are likely to have the opportunity to partake in a range of research projects. Take advantage of these opportunities, volunteer, or even propose research topics of your own making. You can do this as an individual or as a group with other students. Many large research institutions of learning have research and innovation learning centers, practice laboratories, and experimental learning environments, in which both individual and collaborative research is encouraged and supported.

Explore career paths- One of the best parts of being in school is that you are likely to have an opportunity to meet a wide range of contacts that you can approach for possible jobs lead. Your school may have a job placement division or career center in which you’ll gain assistance in narrowing down your job focus, taking advantage of university referrals and perfecting your resume and interviewing techniques. When conducting job search research, consider exploring opportunities in national research laboratories, major medical centers and large corporate organizations that conduct independent research.

However, you can become a researcher without taking the academic route; you do not necessarily need a degree as people carry out research for a variety of reasons. After narrowing down your options or choosing your research field as in step one above. The next course of action you need to take involves:

Choosing a research topicChoose a suitable research topic in your field, find a specific topic that interests you and is fairly feasible. Find out about the skills and techniques needed to work on the topic. While brainstorming for ideas, make sure that the topic is manageable and materials are available for the topic.

Search for materialsSources for materials could be; online, in libraries, journals, articles, interviews, original research, fieldwork etc. A good researcher should not be afraid to ask questions.

With the steps mentioned above, you are well on your way to being a researcher, don’t forget to improve your skills and constantly update your knowledge. Try to be enthusiastic about whatever subject you choose.

Remember, people and companies are always happy to pay for information, especially if it impacts their current or future earnings. Being a researcher is a good career choice as you would be able to provide the much needed information.