What is a Criminal Researcher?

Criminal ResearcherA criminal researcher is responsible for conducting investigations into crimes. Criminal researchers are law enforcement workers who not only track down suspects in crimes that have already been committed, but also work to prevent future crimes. These law enforcement professionals may work either by themselves or as part of investigative teams. There are different specialties within the job description of criminal research.

Job Responsibilities

Those working in criminal research positions are responsible for investigating a wide variety of crimes including homicides, robberies, property invasions, and sexual assaults, according to Wise Geek. They must gather forensic evidence at crime scenes. They must also conduct interviews of suspects and witnesses to criminal events. They might also have to send evidence to labs and conduct laboratory analysis on crime scene specimens themselves. They need to learn how to accumulate evidence in a case so that the criminal responsible for the crime in question can be identified and brought to justice.

Criminal researchers may frequently have to testify in court regarding their findings. Other tasks for which criminal researchers are responsible include obtaining search warrants, monitoring suspects, recording information about the crime scene and suspects, and taking fingerprints.


To work as a criminal researcher, a high school diploma or a GED is required. In general, those working in this position must have a Bachelor’s degree. Some good degree focuses for those aspiring to work in criminal research are biology, chemistry, and computer science. Studying police science or criminal justice could also help one to land a job in criminal research. Work experience is often also important in landing a criminal research job. Those who have experience working in the military or in security positions are one step ahead when it comes to applying for professional positions.

Important Skills

Criminal researchers need to have a variety of different skills and knowledge. They need to be good problem solvers and be able to pay careful attention to details. Critical thinking skills are important in this career. Organizational skills are also important, because criminal researchers need to be able to keep careful track of data and evidence in order to solve a case. Communication skills are important too. Both written and oral communication is important for those working in criminal research. Researchers need to be able to write reports that clearly explain the conditions of a crime. They also need to be able to communicate information and explain evidence to lawyers, judges, victims, and others.


Some criminal researchers may specialize in forensics, and this type of research needs to be well educated in the sciences. Specialists working in crime scene investigation usually have a degree in a subject like chemistry or biology, and they will spend a great deal of time working in a laboratory to analyze crime scene evidence. Criminal researchers and investigators could also specialize in covert surveillance. This means they will put surveillance equipment in place to monitor suspects. They could also follow suspects themselves while working in disguise.

Related Resource: Become a Crime Lab Analyst

Being a criminal researcher offers law enforcement professionals an exciting and interesting career that contributes to keeping communities safe and bringing criminals to justice.