For the majority of the population, the tools of an Educational and Research Services firm are all freely available and close to home. The place to begin is your local library.
Those tools are:
1. Industry periodicals
2. Science and Academic journals
3. Databases such as LexisNexis
4. Governmental reports
5. Archived historical documents
7. Data mining
10. Original sources
11. Original research
Although you may not have access to all this data immediately, research librarians will be able to assist you. Libraries at major universities have more time and resources devoted to assisting you in your research.
All these sources are far superior to media outlets but they must still be evaluated for bias and funding sources. Researchers must apply these three tenets to every document they review:
Question every fact.
Who said it first?
What are their interests and agendas?
Who are your clients?
Governmental organizations, higher-education institutions, high tech firms, non-profit organizations, and individual investigators will supply the majority of your business.
How do I get started?
The entry level position in the field is the Research Analyst. Analysts are expected to be experienced in designing evaluation studies, collecting data, analyzing primary and secondary data, and writing reports. Additional duties may include evaluation research, research design, needs assessment, public opinion polling, focus groups, interviewing, statistical analyses, and demographic analyses. Though not as critical, you should be prepared to demonstrate proficiency in technical writing and public speaking
How do I acquire these skills?
Most positions for analysts require a PhD or at least a Masters or in Social Sciences. With only an Masters Degree, you will typically need several years of relevant work experience in addition.
Academics agree on one fact. After 1993, when the web became widely available, the quality of educational research plummeted. Journals are rigorously juried to make certain that results are repeatable and conclusions are reasonable. 99 % of what you read every day is not.
As an Educational and Research Service provider your will be to become a source of reliable information. This is a daunting task. Those who are not daunted are not thinking clearly; but those who have persisted have become immensely successful.
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