Being a researcher does not need to involve working at a university. Or even having a PhD. Many companies and organisations undertake research and their researchers come from all manner of backgrounds.
It takes a lot to become a researcher, but one of the things that it certainly doesn't take or doesn't certainly require is a PhD.
Now, I reckon many of you are listening to this and thinking that's a load of rubbish, but the reality is most research jobs actually are outside academia. Academia is the main place where PhDs are valued as a research job. If you think about lawyers, journalists, bloggers, product reviewer analysts, quality control personnel, quality improvement personnel. All of those roles involve some kind of research activity. Yet very few of those roles will actually require the first thing to hold a PhD.
So, if you want a career in research, don't automatically think you need to do a PhD. In fact, in some industries and in some cases, a PhD will be seen as a detriment to getting the research job that you're after.
So, a PhD isn't always the answer when it comes to research.