Working Conditions

Most social scientists have regular hours. Generally working behind a desk, either alone or in collaboration with other social scientists, they read and write research reports.

Many experience the pressures of writing and publishing articles, deadlines and tight schedules, and sometimes they must work overtime, for which they generally are not reimbursed. Social scientists often work as an integral part of a research team. Their routine may be interrupted frequently by telephone calls, letters to answer, special requests for information, meetings, or conferences.

Travel may be necessary to collect information or attend meetings. Social scientists on foreign assignment must adjust to unfamiliar cultures, climates, and languages.

Some social scientists do fieldwork. For example, anthropologists, archaeologists, and geographers often travel to remote areas, live among the people they study, learn their languages, and stay for long periods at the site of their investigations. They may work under rugged conditions, and their work may involve strenuous physical exertion.

Social scientists employed by colleges and universities generally have flexible work schedules, often dividing their time among teaching, research and writing, consulting, or administrative responsibilities.