Research Specialist Certificate Program with Externship

Program includes National Certification & an Externship Opportunity

The Research Specialist

Whether working on an academic research paper or undertaking a project at work, students and professionals at all levels require an understanding of the most effective research methods available. Effective research allows you to pursue your interests in greater depth, find out more information about a particular subject, learn something new, hone problem solving skills and really push your critical thinking skills. Every field of study has their own research problems and methods, but the fundamental research skills necessary to undertake a project like this are consistent. Professionals in all areas of work must be prepared to take on a research project and have the fundamental skills to do so effectively and accurately.

The Research Specialist Program

The Research Specialist Program takes students through the fundamentals of qualitative research from gathering data, developing surveys, and recording sources properly to thinking critically about your findings and challenging yourself to draw unexpected conclusions from your efforts. More often, the challenge to research is synthesizing your discoveries into written form – turning a collection of notes into a final expression or argument. This program will show students how to get from start to finish on a research project through proven strategies alongside emerging trends in internet and digital research.

Program Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of qualitative research
  • Design an original qualitative research question to draw valid conclusions about a socially relevant topic
  • Gather data using an appropriate qualitative research method
  • Develop an appropriate survey for collecting data
  • Gather research data from indirect sources of data
  • Synthesize research by writing a white paper
  • Evaluate the methodology, evidence, and conclusions of others’ research by following a scientific research methodology
  • Analyze the challenges and ethical issues in social research
  • Enhance your research skills by using the Internet in an effective and efficient manner
  • Examine the emerging technical trends in the field of descriptive research
  • Use Microsoft Office


  • Compare and contrast everyday learning and a scientific approach to learning
  • Describe the natural world versus the social world with respect to research methods
  • Describe the role of the scientific method in social science research methods
  • Describe the causal law
  • Describe the key elements, terms, and concepts in qualitative research
  • Describe controls and random assignment


  • Describe the key elements, terms, and concepts in qualitative research
  • Describe controls and random assignment
  • Define the role of variables, measurement, and statistics in qualitative research
  • Describe the causal law
  • Start to identify the goal for your research


  • Illustrate how individual biases and beliefs affect social research
  • Describe common problems in conducting educational research and how they can be avoided
  • Examine the practical dilemmas and ethical issues faced by modern social researchers
  • Determine the appropriate ethical response to various legal scenarios


  • Compare and contrast contemporary records, archival and historical records, and physical traces as indirect sources of data
  • Use content analysis to extract data from any of the indirect sources
  • Use unobtrusive observation in a given scenario
  • Describe the relative strengths and limitations of two indirect methods of data collection
  • Conduct a literature review for your course project using the library or other Internet resources
  • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of evidences used and conclusions drawn in other research


  • Select the site and subjects for observational study
  • Select an appropriate data collection method
  • Record observational data
  • Analyze the methodology employed by other researchers
  • Evaluate a research report for evidence of bias or ethical rigidity
  • Examine the practical dilemmas and ethical issues faced by modern social researchers


  • Develop a comprehensive statement of the research problem
  • Identify an appropriate strategy for initiating qualitative research for a given topic


  • Select an appropriate report format for your research paper


  • Describe the sociological effects of technology
  • Summarize the advantages and disadvantages of the software that aid qualitative research
  • Analyze online journals that address the needs of qualitative researchers


  • Collate and analyze your research findings
  • Record observational data
  • Apply all the skills learned to synthesize the research paper project

Note: This program can be completed in 6 months. However, students will have online access to this program for a 24-month period.

Education and National Certifications

  • Students should have or be pursuing a high school diploma or GED.
  • There are no state approval and/or state requirements associated with this program.
  • There is a National Certification exam available to students who successfully complete this program:
    • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification Exam

National Certification

Upon successful completion of this program, students would be eligible to sit for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exam. Although there are no state approval, state registration or other state requirements for this program, students who complete this program  will be prepared and are eligible to sit for this national certification exam. Students who complete this program are encouraged to complete the externship option with their program. Students who complete this program can and do sit for the MOS national certification exams and are qualified, eligible and prepared to do so.  works with each student to complete the exam application and register the student to take their national certification exam.

Externship / Hands on Training / Practicum

Although not a requirement, once students complete the program, they have the ability to participate in an externship and/or hands on practicum so as to practice the skills necessary to perform the job requirements of a professional in this field. Students will be assisted with completing a resume and/or other requirements necessary to work in this field. All students who complete this program are eligible to participate in an externship and will be placed with a participating organization near their location. works with national organizations and has the ability to place students in externship opportunities nationwide.

Note: No refunds can be issued after the start date published in your Financial Award document.