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What Does a Rural Sociologist Do?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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Among the many activities that a rural sociologist may engage in are observing group behaviors within a society, interviewing members of society to gain insight on a particular issue or problem, and attempting to develop solutions to certain challenges presented by a society. This type of sociologist also frequently works with other professionals in an effort to improve conditions affecting a certain segment of society. It is also common for a rural sociologist to prepare written reports that notify others of important research methods and findings. Some who make this career choice also become teachers who assist others in becoming sociologists.

Each rural sociologist job description is likely to vary in terms of the exact duties that are expected. Nearly all professionals working in this capacity, however, are involved in researching, observing and evaluating various social interactions and behaviors. A sociologist may also work independently, but most work with other team members as well as outside professionals who are not sociologists, but who are addressing a common issue that sociologists may also study. Some of the field research methods commonly used by a sociologist include interviews and questionnaires.

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Conveying information to others is a large part of what a sociologist does. Such typically means that an individual working in this capacity must be able to put data in its proper context and translate it into language that others can understand. Rural sociologist duties may require working with interpreters and translators to communicate important data to people who speak different languages.

A rural sociologist job often requires individuals to work directly with the public, as well as with government and corporate officials. Sociologists may be responsible for forming and leading teams or may work under the leadership of another professional as a team member. One of the most important rural sociologist requirements is to be able to communicate effectively across a broad spectrum of mediums including telephone, email and in person.

Some rural sociologist jobs are strictly related to teaching. Many people enter teaching careers after spending several years practicing the skills of a rural sociologist in the field. Teachers must be adept at helping others understand key concepts in rural sociology, as well as speaking in public and giving useful feedback on scholarly papers. Sociologists who teach often do so at the university level, but many are also employed by secondary schools as well as two-year colleges.

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