What Can a Virtual Research Assistant Do?

A virtual research assistant can help you with any task that involves online research, from sourcing quotes from multiple vendors to in-depth data collection and analysis for a research paper. Here are just a few examples of what a virtual research assistant can do for your business or your life.

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What Can a Virtual Research Assistant Do?

Comparison Shopping – Your virtual research assistant can help you source quotes from multiple vendors and service providers. This can be a real time saver especially if you’re shopping in an industry with opaque pricing where very few vendors display public prices and you must ask for a custom quote from each one.

Travel Planning – Whether you’re planning a business trip or a family vacation, a virtual research assistant can do key research for you on where to go and help you create multiple itinerary options. A virtual research assistant can do research on the best hotels to stay at, and ideal flight options that fit your existing schedule. Your assistant can present you with a summary of his or her findings, and discuss them with you over the phone.

A virtual research assistant can help you with any task that involves online research, from sourcing quotes from multiple vendors to in-depth data collection and analysis for a research paper. Here are just a few examples of what a virtual research assistant can do for your business or your life.

Idea Generation – A virtual research assistant can be especially useful for generating ideas, especially when the request is narrowly focused. For example, your assistant can help you generate blog topic ideas to write about in your specific industry. We recommend keeping the request as specific as possible vs open ended tasks which may cause your assistant to waste a lot of time trying to figure out what you really want.

Link Building – Your virtual research assistant can do online research and find related websites in your industry, or simply websites which may be interested in your content. Once approved, your assistant can act as a link builder and reach out to webmasters on your behalf and ask for them to read and link to your articles, or to ask for permission to guest post on their sites.

Real Estate Research – Our real estate virtual assistants with deep industry knowledge can help you discover where projects are in the planning cycle and find out zoning and other information from a variety of public sources.

Lead Generation – A virtual research assistant can find leads for your company online through a variety of sources such as Craigslist for just about any industry or Zillow for For Sale By Owner seller real estate leads. A virtual research assistant can also find online, industry specific directories of potential clients for your marketing team to contact. Your assistant can even use web scraping software to harvest email addresses for your sales team.

Data Collection – A virtual research assistant can help with both qualitative and quantitative data collection, analysis and summarization. This includes compiling and tracking information in spreadsheets and databases, tabulating data and producing effective graphs, charts and displays and synthesizing key findings for partners, stakeholders and other interested parties.

Online Research – An assistant can help you with literature searches and reviews on any topic of interest. More generally, your assistant can research and summarize how a certain process or even a certain industry works. There’s no limit on what you can ask your virtual assistant to research. A summary or explanation or any topic is possible with the help of a virtual research assistant.

Research Reports – A virtual research assistant can help with the writing of research proposals, manuscripts and reports. A research assistant can also help with gathering all of the data, quotes and references necessary for a research paper.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget that a virtual research assistant is a highly adaptable human being who can do other tasks as well. Have your assistant watch our tutorial videos and learn the right way to upload video to YouTube and how to create a WordPress blog post.

How Much Does a Virtual Research Assistant Cost?

A virtual research assistant will cost significantly less than an in-person research assistant. A virtual research assistant based in the US can cost anywhere from $35,000 to $75,000 per year as of this writing.

If this sounds expensive, you can outsource the role through a reputable business process outsourcing company like Jobstob for 70% or more off domestic sticker prices. For example, as of this writing we’d be able to source a fluent, English speaking virtual research assistant from the Philippines or India for $11,000 to $12,000 a year, which equates to roughly $6 a hour.

Pro Tip: Generally speaking, you can hire at least 3 virtual research assistants from the Philippines for the cost of one virtual research assistant based domestically. There is simply too much of a disparity in the cost of living between developed economies like the United States and developing countries like the Philippines and India.

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing a Research Assistant

Outsourcing can be extremely beneficial from a cost perspective, but what will you lose in capability vs a domestically based research assistant?

Pros

An outsourced virtual research assistant from the Philippines or India can do any task that can be done through a computer or telephone. An outsourced assistant is capable of any online research task, and will often be more motivated for less pay vs a US based employee.

A virtual research assistant can help you with any task that involves online research, from sourcing quotes from multiple vendors to in-depth data collection and analysis for a research paper.

Outsourcing can be extremely beneficial from a cost perspective, but what will you lose in capability vs a domestically based research assistant?

Pros

An outsourced virtual research assistant from the Philippines or India can do any task that can be done through a computer or telephone. An outsourced assistant is capable of any online research task, and will often be more motivated for less pay vs a US based employee.

You should never underestimate an overseas based virtual assistant’s ability to learn and adapt. Our pre-vetted, experienced virtual research assistants have the capability to learn almost any task, especially ones that you do repetitively and can demonstrate via screen sharing.

Cons

An outsourced virtual research assistant may have difficulty conducting in-depth, graduate or Ph.D. level research, the type of work that is typically done by a graduate student domestically. Even though virtual assistants from the Philippines generally possess excellent English speaking and comprehension skills, any topic that is too niche or academic may pose a challenge, just like it would to anyone who isn’t an insider in that specific niche.

A virtual research assistant from abroad should generally not be assigned to be the lead writer for any sort of academic research paper or other research paper meant for publication. This is something that should be led by a head researcher based domestically with a native grasp of English.

A virtual research assistant from a developing country like the Philippines would not be appropriate for a clinical research associate position, especially if they’ll be responsible for monitoring activities at clinical sites for clinical trials. This is especially true if there are regulatory and compliance considerations, such as the assistant being responsible for maintaining compliance with currently approved protocols and amendments, with ICH, GCP, SOPs and with any applicable regulatory requirements.

Pro Tip: Unless you’re looking for a graduate or Ph.D. student to help you with an intensive research project on stem cell biology, you’ll almost always be better off with hiring multiple virtual research assistants from overseas for the same cost.

Hire a Virtual Research Assistant

Hire a fluent, English speaking virtual research assistant based in the Philippines through Jobstob for a fraction of the price.

We’ve re-imagined and simplified business process outsourcing from soup to nuts. Start by browsing our extensive selection of video resumes, and contact us once you’ve found a candidate you like. Or, we’d be happy to do a custom search for you.

We’ll source, screen, interview and test candidates to make the best use of your time. Once hired, we’ll take care of everything from a free trial period to payroll, time tracking, compliance and HR so you can focus on growing your business.

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Full-time, fluent, English speaking virtual assistants, designers, video editors and salespeople for $6 a hour.