What Does a Research Supervisor Do?

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  • Written By: Geri Terzo
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 26 February 2020
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A research supervisor can work in one of many industries. The role of a research supervisor in any sector is likely to include overseeing the performance of other researchers in addition to spearheading projects and providing some support to clients. A professional in this role might also be involved in establishing revenue projections and might be responsible for a specific department meeting those expectations.

In the finance industry, a research supervisor can expect to perform market research for a particular segment of the economy. This individual often works with databases and spreadsheets and might be expected to perform some type of analysis and give written reports to other personnel and clients. It is possible that this supervisor will be involved in the sales process in some way. Sales professionals might need to know what type of research studies are being performed, and there might be proprietary requests that a research supervisor needs to fulfill for certain clients.

It's likely that a research supervisor is not the most senior member of a division, so he or she might report to a manager in the group. The real estate industry, for example, is one area where research is prevalent. A supervisor in this industry might respond to queries by real estate agents at some commercial real estate firm to provide context and background information on a pieces of property.


The research supervisor in real estate might have some seniority, even if he or she reports to some manager, and could be responsible for budgeting the expenses of the department and providing opinions on properties and entire regional markets. This professional might oversee production of other research personnel and might lead the training process for new employees. Also, this supervisor might need to perform reviews on the performance of other researchers, which could involve producing written assessments on the production of others and making salary recommendations.

Agricultural facilities in poverty-stricken regions might hire a research supervisor to have a very hands-on role in a community. This position might require relocation on the part of the professional, although the individual fulfilling such a role might do so on a temporary assignment. The job might entail assessing the potential of a location for farming and agricultural development. Research performed by this supervisor could be used in an attempt to improve the production of a piece of farmland so that residents of rural-poverty regions can be provided with a greater food supply. A researcher in this supervisory role might also participate in training farmers on how to utilize resources and technology to the fullest advantage.


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