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Is it Rude to Email Professors I Don't Know?

pmmywestpmmywest Registered User Posts: 358 Member
I'm a current high school student doing an independent research project on a topic that is fairly new and hasn't been researched that much, compared to other subjects. Would it be rude to email college professors studying the same thing with questions about the topic? While I would love to get their input, I know they are busy people and I don't want to annoy or bother them, especially since I'm just a high school student.

Replies to: Is it Rude to Email Professors I Don't Know?

  • mathyonemathyone Registered User Posts: 4,225 Senior Member
    I think it's fine, as long as you are aware they are busy and so they may not respond. Just make sure that you have done your research. You will annoy them if you ask a lot of things they feel you should have figured out without their help.
  • stradmomstradmom Registered User Posts: 4,895 Senior Member
    Have these profs written about the subject and that's how you found them? Perhaps asking a follow-up question to something in one of their articles might be a good way to frame your email.
  • rhandcorhandco Registered User Posts: 4,292 Senior Member
    Yes, I would suggest emailing them and referencing their articles. Make sure you read their articles first.

    If you are doing this with your school, ask a teacher for guidance as well.
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,653 Super Moderator
    While it's not rude per se to email them, you should make sure that you have done your due diligence before you did. Are your questions answered in their research papers or books? Try to read them first. If you cannot get access to them through your school library or a nearby university library (most high school libraries don't have access to scholarly journals), then you can ask them for reprints of the journal articles. You can find the abstracts on Google Scholar.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 12,468 Forum Champion
    Also make sure you have good etiquette in your email:

    Professor X,

    I was hoping to ask you a question about your paper on Mutant Powers, "Mutant Powers and what to do with them". I noticed you looked into energy powers and wonder if you have ever compared Magento's powers to Gambit's. I am hypothesizeing that Magneto would win because of his ability to incorporate other objects with his power but also wonder if Gambit's speed might give him the edge. If you have time, could you drop me a quick note on your thoughts? I am writing a research paper for my AP Physics class at High Tech High School.

    Thank you for any help you can provide,


    Do not make any demands and only follow up perhaps one more time, and then don't push.
This discussion has been closed.