Career Profile: Survey Researcher

What is a Survey Researcher?

This information is intended to answer the question: What is a survey researcher? Survey researchers analyze data that is gathered through surveys that they have conducted. Their responsibilities include researching for specific topics, planning and designing surveys, analyzing and testing surveys, administering surveys, and summarizing data by using graphs, fact sheets and tables. The surveys that are administered are helpful in scientific research, marketing and public opinion. The surveys may cover a broad range of topics.They are designed in different formats depending on the clients needs, such as questionnaires, group studies or interviews. Survey researchers are employed by government agencies, polling organizations, colleges, corporations and nonprofit organizations. Most work regular business hours in an office, and sometimes they work outside of the office. Occupations include market research analysts, operations research analysts, public relations specialists, political scientists and statisticians.

Degrees and Training

Survey researchers who are mainly concerned with the sales of services or products acquire a bachelors degree, but many of the technical research positions demand a graduate degree. A bachelors degree in psychology, business or political science are helpful for this profession. They should also consider taking classes in marketing, social science and economics. Advanced research positions, such as the top market research analysts, demand a masters or Ph.D. Other candidates go on to earn a Master of Business Administration. The Professional Researcher Certification is offered by the Marketing Research Association. Although it is not a requirement, it is an excellent certification to have to show prospective employers. Internships are a great way for students and recent graduates to gain knowledge and experience. For a person considering this occupation, consider the following qualities: detail oriented, people and communication skills, critical thinking and analytical skills. All of these skills are important to each aspect of this line of work. The degrees and classes required will help the candidate hone in on each skill set needed.


Annual earnings for a survey researcher vary depending on the field entered, education and experience.The median pay for this occupation is $36,050 or $17.33 per hour. The median annual wages for those going into social science and related are $67,090. Survey researchers can expect $36,050, and all other related occupations will earn $33,840. Those who are just entering the field will earn less than ones with more experience. Those with higher degrees will be able to acquire higher paying jobs and jobs with more responsibility.

Future Job Prospects

The demand for survey researchers and related occupations is projected to remain strong and continue growth. As it stands, there are not many positions open in this field, but that is expected to change as more companies are beginning to see the value in research. Public opinion polling and market research trades will employ more researchers than any other industries. The U.S. Department of Labor projects an increase of 18 to 26 percent in job growth for market and survey researchers through 2014. There are many industries and routes that a person can decide upon to answer the question: What is a survey researcher?