WHAT TYPE OF RESEARCHER ARE YOU? Unlocking Your Researcher Identity!

When exploring the world of research careers, you may find a multitude of paths that cater to your unique interests and strengths. The question of “what type of researcher are you” revolves around identifying your researcher identity.

Have you ever wondered what kind of researcher you are, which little box of qualities of a researcher you fit in? If you’ve pondered over this question, then you are in the right place!

This blog aims to help you understand different perspectives and shed light on the reasons behind your research approach. It also provides guidance for first-time researchers, enabling them to explore the true essence and purpose of their work. Some individuals may be drawn to academic roles, delving into the depths of theoretical and foundational research, while others thrive in industry settings, applying their expertise to practical, real-world challenges. 

To begin with, let us reflect on the past three years of the Covid-19 pandemic, a period that will undoubtedly be etched into history. These years forced us to shift our livelihoods online.

Last month, we celebrated the third anniversary of Academic Research Consultancy Services, an organization that offered support, coaching, and mentorship to researchers during the pandemic. There are also those who bridge the gap between academia and industry, contributing to both realms. Your researcher identity is a reflection of your passion, skills, and the impact you wish to make in the research community, making it essential to understand the diverse types of research careers available and align them with your aspirations and values.

This milestone marked a significant transformation in research consulting and the online presence of researchers. However, none of us have yet classified the different types of researchers. As someone who has mentored numerous researchers, allow me to do just that for you.

The Struggler:

This researcher is an excellent student who excels in academics but requires assistance in decision-making, selecting research programs, and narrowing down topics. The Struggler never takes the easy route and avoids shortcuts.

The Bookish Researcher:

This individual possesses a deep understanding of theoretical concepts but struggles to apply them to practical problems.

The Practical Researcher:

Passionate about experimental work, this researcher excels at optimizing results and generating data. However, they often delay the analysis until they achieve satisfactory outcomes, and they might encounter difficulties when it comes to thesis writing.

The Bullish Researcher:

Bold, adventurous, and ambitious, this type of researcher often engages in discussions about innovations and patents without having a clear roadmap to achieve their goals.

The Super-efficient Researcher:

Even after completing their Ph.D., post-doctoral research, and winning numerous prizes, this researcher continues to search for a full-time job or career.

The Job-seeker Researcher:

Constantly seeking career advice in academia or the corporate world, this researcher struggles to find their ideal job.

The Follower Researcher:

Engaged in a Ph.D. research project under the guidance of an expert mentor, this researcher takes initiative but heavily relies on encouragement. They are obedient and open to advise but lack independent decision-making abilities and confidence.

The figure below provides a visual representation that further aids in understanding these researcher types based on a re-evaluation of an exploratory study by Gray, R. (2010).

In conclusion, personality traits developed throughout life influence behavior and learning styles. Some traits acquired during school may manifest during higher education, while Ph.D. scholars may possess distinct personality traits that can be categorized as researcher types. However, this categorization is hypothetical and requires further study.

The intention behind categorizing researchers is not to confine individuals into a single type but rather to help researchers identify their preferred style and areas of improvement.

Self-awareness, acknowledging one’s feelings, and balancing one’s personality are half the battle won! Furthermore, studying the mindset, ambitions, and aspirations of researchers in itself can be a fascinating area within the field of psychology.

It is important to recognize that no one can be perfect, setbacks are a part of life, and the research process is inherently challenging.

When researchers set realistic expectations and deadlines, they gain a better understanding of the ups and downs they may encounter, regardless of their researcher type. If you want to learn more about how to manage your research and personal life effectively, stay tuned for our next article.


Gray, Rob (2010). ‘A re-evaluation of social, environmental, and sustainability accounting.’

Dr. Suman MundkurResearch Coach

Want to accelerate your research work? I offer a FREE consultation to help you overcome obstacles and find solutions. Schedule your session Here

Also, check out my book, ‘A Guide to a Topic Selection Journey for First-time Researchers: ZEROING IN ON A RESEARCH TOPIC

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