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What Are the Duties of an Administrative Research Assistant?

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Administrative research assistants provide clerical support to researchers in economics, science, social science, medicine and the humanities. While universities employ the most research assistants as part of graduate programs, many private research facilities, particularly in the medical industry, hire them as well. They assist with the paperwork involved in research, including filing, researching and writing reports. The specific duties of an administrative research assistant will vary depending on the subject being examined.

Administrative Tasks

The main function of an administrative research assistant is to support scientists, doctors or faculty members with their studies. They provide clerical assistance by answering phones, typing articles and correspondence, editing text, preparing forms or applications and compiling reference materials.

Obtain Funding

Before research begins, administrative research assistants write grant proposals and research funding sources. Funding may come from public sources (such as nonprofit organizations) or private foundations (such as a businesses or corporations). Grants have a variety of requirements for background information and project details, so administrative research assistants must have grant-writing knowledge.

Support Research

Once financial support has been established, administrative research assistants compile related data and information, including peer journal articles, literature reviews, studies and books. They also collect and analyze data alongside the lead researcher. Research assistants should be familiar with the terminology associated with the subject in which they work. They should have knowledge of special procedures and techniques linked to their industry.

Write and Edit Reports

Administrative research assistants collaborate with the researcher in preparing the results of a study for publication in journals, magazines and books. They need excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to write and edit technical information. They must be detail oriented and able to interpret results in written form.


Meagan Van Beest took up writing after graduating with a bachelor's degree in English literature. She has worked in advertising and marketing for the past decade. Her writing has appeared in advertising, brochures, newspapers and online magazines. Currently, as creative director of a design firm, she oversees the graphics, copy writing, and creative direction of print and Web design projects.

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