Occultists are researchers of supernatural phenomenon. It doesn't necessary mean that they believe in the supernatural, however a certain openness towards the unknown is often found among these individuals.
There are few if any well established academic institutions that houses occultists or even parapsychologists. Despite this many occultists do have a link to the academic field. Some might be academic drop outs that doesn't accept main stream science. Others might be scholars with a hobby they wishes to keep a secret. As thumb rule to be an occultist means that you will have to keep a certain degree of discretion while conduction your research.
The way reserach is conducted is often determined by the view the occultist has on occult phenomenon in general. A believer will use occult methods while a sceptic will use more traditional scientific methods to determine the orgin of a possible occult occurance.