A research statistician, sometimes called a research analyst, is typically hired to design quantitative data evaluation models and to collect, analyze and present relevant information. Statisticians rely on advanced mathematical skills and special study of applied and theoretical statistical applications. The position is part of the information gathering and evaluative framework of government agencies, nonprofits and public companies in a broad range of industries.
Different types of data are used in a variety of contexts to help organizations make decisions. Generally, it is used for informational purposes and to prove results. In the context of information gathering, it can uncover the characteristics of a target group, such as collecting data for a population census. When used to prove results, data is collected according to an evaluative model and analyzed, such as when it is pulled from the results of a research project or to collected to prove program effectiveness.
Any organization that relies on quantitative data analysis can make good use of a research statistician. The person hired into this position is responsible for data collection design, if the organization collects its own information. Typically, he will take organizational objectives and translate them into a plan that can provide answers. For example, if a government agency wants to know how many single-family households in an area are headed by first-generation immigrants so it can design a program to support the population, a research statistician would help design the data collection methodology and tools. He would figure out what information needs to be collected and prepare a survey, for example, that would work as the collection mechanism.
Once the data is collected, or if an organization is working from a pre-collected data set, the research statistician is responsible for organizing the information so the numbers tell a story and reveal relationships between variables. He must also extrapolate the numbers so they can predict possible outcomes in the future. Typically, a research statistician must be proficient with computer databases and programs that generate statistical models.
Another general duty of a research statistician is to manipulate data into presentable formats. This includes working with charts, graphs and other visual representations to make the conclusions revealed by the data clear to a layperson. Often, a research statistician is added to an executive team to present statistical findings and discuss the reliability of the facts and figures. These presentations can be made to a board of directors, to policy analysts in government contexts or to anyone who needs to make a decision based upon numbers and hard facts.