What Does a Health Research Assistant Do?

Nick Mann

A health research assistant works alongside other team members on health related research studies, and is commonly employed by a university or scientific laboratory. Some helpful traits to have for this position are interpersonal skills, an eye for detail and the ability to follow orders. While the specific types of studies he works on will differ, there are five fundamental duties for a health research assistant. These include developing research studies, acquiring and screening potential participants, conducting studies, recording and presenting those findings.

Woman posing
Woman posing

In most cases, a health research assistant will help to develop a research study. This usually involves working alongside other team members to create the necessary materials for the study. For example, he might create a survey or questionnaire about health conditions for participants to fill out. Before these materials are actually used, it's often necessary for a research team to get an approval from the program coordinator.

Once the materials and layout of a health study have been developed, a health research assistant will assist in the process of acquiring potential research participants. For example, if he is working for a university, he might work to recruit students for a study. The means of recruitment can differ but might include putting up flyers, placing online ads or doing word-of-mouth recruitment.

After participants have applied to take place in a study, an individual in this role will typically assist in the screening process as well. This practice involves interviewing participants to ensure that certain criteria are met. If a study is based around discovering information on allergies, a health research assistant might select people who suffer from existing allergies. This aspect of the job requires an individual who can build rapport with others and make effective decisions.

When enough participants have been acquired who meet a study's criteria, a health research assistant will aid in conducting the actual study. In most cases, he will work with other team members and take orders from the program coordinator. The specific tasks of each study will vary, but often include administering surveys, asking participants health-related questions or monitoring certain body functions. To ensure reliable results, a health research assistant must follow protocol and record accurate data.

In addition, an individual will usually be required to record his findings after a study has been completed. This often means that the findings will be published in a scientific journal or academic publication. In some instances, a health research assistant may also present his findings to other professionals in a conference.

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