Conducting Field Research

Corresponding with Experts

Is there a person whose knowledge or opinions you'd like to include in your research gathering but who lives too far away for a personal interview? A letter or e-mail message may do the trick. Be sure to make it short and polite. If you're sending a letter, it's a real good idea to enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope along with your questions. And, if you're using e-mail, place your questions directly into the text of your email message so that the recipient can respond using the reply button.

Large corporations and organizations, branches of the military and the federal government as well as elected officials are all accustomed to being solicited in this manner. In fact, many of them employ public relations officers whose duties include responding to such solicitation. They will often supply you with free brochures, press releases and other source materials geared toward your inquiry.

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Introduction