University of Glasgow Job Description

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University of Glasgow

Job Description

Job Title

Research Assistant

Grade 6

School / RI / US Department

Institute of Health & Wellbeing

MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow

College / University Services Division


Reporting To

Dr Shona Hilton, Programme Leader, Understanding and Uses of Public Health Research (UUPHR)

Job Purpose

Despite the fact that e-cigarette use is now a worldwide phenomenon and teenagers have been highlighted as an ‘at risk’ group, very little qualitative research has been conducted with teenagers living in the UK to gain insights into their understandings, awareness and experiences of e-cigarettes. The successful candidate will join a multi-disciplinary team of researchers to contribute towards a study investigating teenagers’ understandings, awareness and experiences of e-cigarettes and recent industry marketing efforts. The successful candidate will be expected to contribute towards the formulation and submission of research publications as well as help manage and direct this project. This research will contribute towards a better understanding of how messages about e-cigarettes might be amplified or mitigated.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Assist in conducting a preliminary search of the literature on e-cigarettes and teenagers.

  1. Assist in recruiting and conducting qualitative fieldwork with teenagers. This will involve helping to organse and facilitate focus groups with a wide range of teenagers across the UK. These group discussions will aim to elucidate teenagers’ views on the debate about the advantages and disadvantages of e-cigarettes and their experiences of e-cigarettes and beliefs about e-cigarette marketing.

  1. Contribute to the writing up of the data for inclusion in peer-reviewed journals or reports as lead and co-author.

  1. Help design posters and presentations to support the dissemination of the project’s findings.

  1. Present the outcomes and findings of the analyses to the project and programme team.

  1. To contribute to enhancement of the University’s national and international profile in line with the University’s Strategic Plan, Glasgow 2020 – A Global Vision and the strategic goals of the Unit and the Institute of Health & Wellbeing by producing high quality research assistance.

  1. To actively develop research skills and knowledge of the subject area; attend and participate in appropriate meetings and research seminars relevant to the subject area.

  1. You may be required to undertake some training in scientific and technical skills as required for this work.

  1. To perform other duties of a similar nature appropriate to the grade, which may be required from time to time by your manager.

Knowledge, Qualifications, Skills and Experience



Demonstrate a good knowledge of different qualitative research methods.


Knowledge of any or all of the following:

(a) Focus group method.

(b) Public health research.

(c) Tobacco research.

(d) Marketing research.



A good (1st or 2.1) degree in a relevant subject area (social science, public health or related discipline (e.g. Sociology, Health Policy, Politics etc).


A Masters of research degree in related discipline (social science, public health or related discipline (e.g. Sociology, Health Policy, Politics etc).



Ability to work effectively as part of a team and the initiative to work effectively alone to agreed priorities and standards.

Ability to prioritise own work and to work to agreed deadlines in a time constrained environment.

Motivated individual with a strong desire to learn and able to solve research-related problems and challenges.


Experience of any of the following:

(a) Planning research and recruiting participants for research

(b) Working in public health research

(c) Working in tobacco research

(d) First or co-authoring at least one peer-reviewed scientific publication.



Typically this post would suit a post graduate who has limited research experience in the public health field.

Experience in analysing qualitative data.

Experience of contributing towards peer review publications.


Undertake research as directed by the PI (Shona Hilton) including development of project materials, data collection, analysis and writing up. Collaboration with others in project/programme team. The role holder will be expected to develop their research skills, methods and techniques and to develop specialist knowledge of the subject area.

Job Features

Planning and Organising

Plan weekly/monthly for research work.

React quickly to queries from the E-cigs project team and/or UUPHR team.

Establish work timetable to achieve short and long term goals for completion of various stages of project.

React to duties assigned by Programme Leader. 

Decision Making

Set short and long term study goals.

Internal/External Relationships

Regular contact with Programme Leader and E-cig project team members on objective setting, progress of analysis and results and resolution of issues.
Develop effective relationships with wider Unit staff to support the work of the project.
Exchange of knowledge and experience with wider group of peers and senior research staff.
Collaboration with colleagues in other centres involved in the study.

Problem Solving

Develop effective working methods to deliver objectives to agreed timescales.

Design and development of project/presentation materials.

Respond to queries from other centres involved in the study.

Collaborate with other members of project team to address problems.


Conduct research in accordance with the Unit’s and University’s policies and procedures and with a high degree of professionalism.

Monitor changes in policy and legislation around specific area of research.

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