Research Assistant

  • Zomba
  • Applications have closed

University of Malawi


The University of Malawi’s Department of Sociology and Population Studies in collaboration with the University of Stirling as the lead has received funding from Medical Research to conduct a two-year study entitled Regulating alcohol packaging and supply to protect health in Sub-Saharan Africa: evidence from policy systems in Malawi and Uganda-RAPSSA. The study aims to understand the adoption and formulation of the bans, what mechanisms for implementation were proposed and put in place, how the bans were enforced in practice, as well as stakeholder and public perceptions of, and explanations for, intended and unintended consequences of the bans. Furthermore, the study will explore contextual factors important for the transferability of findings to other Sub-Saharan countries, in order to inform alcohol policy development and implementation across the region.

The University of Malawi seeks to recruit a motivated Research Assistant to help conduct documentary analysis and qualitative interviews. The successful candidate will work as part of a multi-disciplinary, multilingual, and multi-institution research team with colleagues from Malawi, Uganda, and the UK. The Research Assistant is expected to collect and analyze data, draft reports and articles and contribute to the dissemination of findings. Training on qualitative research methods to be used in the project will be provided through an online programme.

There may be the potential to become involved in developing future research proposals.

Job Title: Research Assistant

Main role: The research assistant will work in collaboration with the Malawi study Co-investigator and Principal investigator. The post will involve working with the project team to undertake qualitative research with community members in Malawi (Lilongwe for most KIIs and Blantyre ). Data collection methods will include Key informant interviews and focus groups discussion to explore community members experiences of regulating alcohol packaging and supply in the protection of health.

Duties Description

The Research Assistant will conduct all the duties described below.

  • Attend a bespoke programme of training on the methods to be used in this study
  • Organise all aspects of data collection (recruiting participants, gaining consent, arranging and conducting the interviews).
  • Liaise with relevant stakeholders in the study sites (community representatives, government representatives, policymakers, traditional authority representatives, academics, NGOs, faith leaders, and others as required).
  • Be responsible for arranging transcription and translation (and will undertake a small number of transcriptions).
  • Code and analyse the transcribed data (using Atlas Ti software for which training will be provided) and share the analysis with the international team.
  • Be responsible for the secure storage and management of the data gathered and transcribed, in accordance with the data protection policy of the University of Malawi and the University of Stirling.
  • Will take part in team meetings and supervision, as well as peer learning sessions organized by the research team in Malawi, Uganda, and the UK.
  • Will be expected to work with the international team to write up findings in the form of reports and articles.
  • Involvement in research team meetings, seminars, and conferences will also be expected.
  • There may be opportunities to contribute to the development of future funding proposals.
  • Perform administrative duties as the need arises

Contract Duration

The appointment is valid for one-year renewable on availability of funds and s&&atisfactory performance

Person Specification


Educated to Master’s degree level in a relevant discipline within Social Sciences (e.g. sociology, population studies/demography, economics, applied/biostatistics and social work)

Any certificate related to qualitative research will be an added advantage


Evidence of being able to conduct research independently

Experience in conducting qualitative research or similar policy public health research work that involved data-gathering, discussion, and establishing rapport with members of the community

Data analysis skills

Skills and Attitude

  • Evidence of good administrative and project management skills
  • Proven ability to establish rapport and interact effectively with project participants, stakeholders, and colleagues
  • Evidence of excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Evidence of self-motivation and the ability to work independently
  • Good IT and computing skills
  • Time management skills including the ability to prioritise workload
  • Trustworthy and reliable
  • Experience in recruiting participants for qualitative research studies (familiarity with issues of ethics and informed consent)
  • Fluent in English and Luganda
  • Knowledge of alcohol policy and/or current issues in alcohol health
  • Ability to travel to other districts (Lilongwe and Blantyre) by public transport; and, where required, to project meetings in other parts of Africa.

Desirable criteria

  • Knowledge of theories and practice of health behavior change and\/or intervention development and evaluation
  • Experience in working in multi-disciplinary academic teams or with multi-country teams
  • Experience in working on multi-institution projects
  • Experience in working on proposals for external research funding
  • Experience in carrying out participatory research, preferably walking interviews
  • Experience in analysing qualitative data
  • Skilled in translating and interpreting
  • Knowledge of current issues in alcohol policy and alcohol-related research
  • Experience in academic writing and conference presentation

Submission of application

Interested persons should submit their application including copies of academic documents and updated curriculum vitae stating at least two referees. These should be addressed to the


University of Malawi,

P.O Box 280,



Please provide reliable 24-hour phone contact and WhatsApp line if different. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interviews.