As a profession, research consulting is sometimes grouped in with management analysis or consulting, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Research consultants are usually highly skilled in all phases of marketing research, from designing a particular study to determining an appropriate sample size. The job description of a research consultant also includes managing a variety of projects to within certain budget parameters.
One of the primary aspects of a research consultant's job description is to work with various manufacturing, wholesale or retail clients. Most research consultants work as a liaison between their account executive, who sells the research project, and the client. The quality of the research consultant's work often determines whether the client company will do business with his company again.
The job description of a research consultant includes handling both primary and secondary research projects. Primary research projects include customer satisfaction studies or focus groups. For example, a client company may want to measure certain product satisfaction variables among current customers, including the product's quality, features, flavors or price. Secondary research duties can include studying both market share and market potential, the total unit and dollar sales, in the client company's industry.
The job description of a research consultant often entails designing questionnaires for surveys, analyzing the results, writing reports, making recommendations based on the research findings and presenting the results to the client company. Questionnaire design includes arranging questions in a logical format to garner information from consumers. This information can include a company's brand or advertising awareness among consumers; or even purchase intent, the likelihood that a consumer will purchase a company's new or existing products in the future. The job description of the research consultant then involves extracting the salient findings from the research and sharing that information with the client.
Education and Skills
Most management analysis jobs, including research consultants, require a bachelor's degree in business or a related field like economics or statistics. Most companies prefer that their research consultants have at least a couple years of experience in their field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010 To 2011 Edition." Research consultants must be self-motivated, highly analytical, well-organized and possess excellent writing and speaking skills.
Salary and Job Outlook
A research consultant earns an average salary of $73,570 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, the number of management analyst or consulting jobs, including research consulting, is expected to increase by 24 percent between 2008 and 2018.