Jun 20

How to make money being a researcher

Reading Time: 3 mins

Want to know how to make money being a researcher? There are all sorts of organisations, individuals and writers who need research done for them. Best of all, the work can often be carried out from home. Read on to find out how to make money being a researcher.


What’s involved?

Writers, TV programme makers and filmmakers are always looking for people to do research for them to check that their facts are correct. Experience of working in an academic or media environment will be a bonus for anyone looking to get into this kind of work. If you have an academic or enquiring mind this can be a fascinating occupation. The vast majority of research can now be carried out on the internet or over the phone so much of your work can be done at your desk.

The best places to advertise your services include the Society of Authors’ quarterly journal called ‘The Author’, in which researchers can advertise their services to writers. Also, check writers’ forums like WritersServices or Some authors might ask for ‘collaborators’ rather than paid researchers so remember this is a business to you – not a work of fiction.

Checking the notice boards of universities and colleges for ads placed by academics and writers is a way to find already-advertised work. If you can get access, there may be ads on the academic intranets – the local computer networks for staff and students. Look in the Times Higher Education Supplement and general trade magazines for jobs advertised. The Guardian’s Jobs section often has research vacancies.

Once you get started, you should get work through word of mouth.

Temporary research work can also be found by checking job websites like Gumtree, but your best bet for short-term research spots might be or, where jobs are advertised and you must ‘bid’ for the work, that is, name the right price. Be aware, though, it can be competitive – and it’s not always the lowest bid that wins the work.


How much can I make?

Researchers can generally expect to be paid between £8 and £20 an hour depending on their expertise and knowledge base. TV researchers are paid £120 a day, or at least that’s the NUJ rate, and believe us, not all TV companies would honour that. Contracts for television research are usually short – normally up to three months and it can involve long hours.

Other areas such as political research, research for NGOs or academic research can be much more lucrative but require at least a Master’s degree and evidence of some kind of expertise.

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Your costs will include:

  • Phone calls
  • Travel (possibly)
  • Internet access – probably a package that allows you to surf 24/7

Your travelling expenses will depend where you live and how far you are from major roads and train stations.  A good phone and internet deal shouldn’t cost the earth – make sure you’re on the cheapest possible package by using our comparison service.


Training and qualifications

Ideally you need to be educated at least to degree level in your research subject or something similar, although work experience in a related field is also a big advantage.


Getting started

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Skint in the City

I also really like the Takepartinresearch service – getting paid for giving opinions sounds like my cup of tea and the rates are good too.

Pilar Martin
Pilar Martin

Please, let me know if you need anyone to do some research in Wolverhampton area where I live.

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