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Freelance Research Writers

Reading glasses on table in front of research books

Finding jobs for freelance research writers can be a good way to build up your career as a professional writer.

What Are Research Writers?

Obviously, most freelance writing projects require conducting some research. Whether you're writing a short tutorial for a Web site or preparing an article for a national magazine, part of being a freelance writer is knowing how to find the information you need to complete your assignment.

The difference between research writing and other types of freelance writing projects is simply the level of research required. A research writer is often expected to spend the bulk of his time finding facts, analyzing data, and interpreting study results. The project must often be written in a very specific format, with little room for artistic license.

Some of projects a research writer may be asked to work on include:

  • Conduct market research for a company interested in opening a new business
  • Verify the accuracy of business listings for a professional association's guidebook
  • Compile summaries of relevant industry news stories for busy executives to read
  • Prepare a report analyzing both sides of a controversial issue
  • Gather facts for database entries
  • Interview groups of people, then write up the results of the survey

Becoming Successful in the Field

What does it take to become a successful research writer?

Specific Subject Experience

Many of the projects available for research writers require experience with a particular subject area. Research projects often involve health and medical related topics or developments in science and technology. To be effective, you need to understand the specific industry jargon that is being used and how to determine whether or not a particular source is considered reliable.

Attention to Detail

While all freelance writers must be detail oriented, an attention to detail is especially important for freelance research writers. Many of the projects a freelance research writer is involved in require careful analysis of facts and figures. You don't want to report that an experimental drug study had a 25% success rate among Caucasian males when the actual figures indicate it was 15% effective for Hispanic women.

Adherence to a Particular Format

Although there are many freelance writing jobs in which creativity is prized, research writing assignments generally require that you adhere to a specific format for the final project. You may be asked to follow a very detailed style guide. Your report may need to include a specific word count for each section, plus graphs and footnotes to document where the information was obtained. If you're not accustomed to writing in such a structured manner, research writing assignments can prove to be very challenging.

Finding Jobs for Freelance Research Writers

Finding jobs for freelance research writers does not have to be difficult. You can find research-related assignments by reviewing many of the same freelance job boards you may already be familiar with. For example:

  • The Freelance Writing Jobs Network is one of the most popular Web sites for freelance writers. You can occasionally find research jobs posted on this site.
  • Media Bistro is a great place to find high level freelance writing jobs.
  • FlexJobs is a job board developed to many different types of work at home positions, but it includes a large number of writing and editing jobs as well as a separate category for telecommuting research jobs.
  • Craigslist classifieds can be hard to search through, but there are often great freelance projects available for those who are willing to look.

Bidding sites such as Guru and Upwork are somewhat controversial in the freelance writing community, but you can often find research-related jobs posted on these sites as well. If you're interested in breaking into this aspect of freelance writing, it may be worth trying to land a few projects this way in order to build up your portfolio.

Freelance Research Writers