1. CassieHughes
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    CassieHughes New Member

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    Help from external Source- Acceptable Reply time?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by CassieHughes, Jun 25, 2015.

    Hi all

    New here! First post so please be gentle!

    I am currently researching for a story I am writing (hopefully my first novel) and I have emailed several people at universities and professional organisations for assistance with underwater archaeology facts.

    One person replied, saying they would be happy to help and advised me to call or email. I did try to call but its graduation time, so he wasn't available. I sent him another email apologising for being unable to reach him, saying I'd still like to talk to him but I outlined the kind of things I wanted to ask about. I also left my return phone number, and asked if it was still convenient for him to chat with me.

    SO that's two emails and one phonecall. Has anyone else been researching this way? I don't know what etiquette dictates...so how long do I leave it until I try to contact this person again? Do I attempt another call or stick to email?

    The information I need is pretty specific so I need to speak to someone with direct links. This person is a professor at a university. He is working in several sites at the moment so he is definitely well equipped to answer me. I just don't want to pester him and I am so keen and excited to get this chunk of my novel finished....I can't wait for the information!

    How much pace do I need here?

    Thank you in advance!!

    Cass
     
  2. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    You've made it hard for yourself by choosing to not "write what you know"... do you have any idea about archaeology, or SCUBA diving? I'd suggest Googling to try to fill in your weak spots on either of those, so that when your prof becomes available you're ready to go.

    Also, how long since you rang? And second eMail? How long would it be polite to wait to give anybody a "pester" call?

    To be honest, if your second mail was specific enough about the questions you want answering, he may well be picking away at it for a couple of days and you'll get the answers in the post; that' where I'd leave it.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    What kind of information would professors have that you couldn't find elsewhere?

    Welcome to the forum. :)
     
  4. sashawrites
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    sashawrites Member

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    are any university libraries near you open to the public as well as students? You could perhaps research through textbooks provided there.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    If there's one thing you should know about professors, it's that they're bad at replying to emails (and sometimes they simply ignore emails from people they don't know). I'm surprised you got even one willing professor. Don't call unless you make an appointment with him. Often times professors are in meetings or have other stuff going on and don't want to be pestered with unimportant calls (e.g., calls not related to work/research). Email is definitely the way to go, but don't bombard him with emails either.

    My advice would be find some resources on your own. Have you tried searching online or looking through some books?
     
  6. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Quick Google brought up http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/05/pictures/110524-pirates-captain-morgan-cannons-rum-science-panama/

    I'm also guessing that, if it's a work of fiction, you'll be more interested in the experiences of the actual divers - talk to the monkeys, not the organ-grinder, he just sits there telling them they're working too slowly, not trying hard enough, contaminating his samples unnecessarily...
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Yes, my son had to bug a couple of his professors who agreed to provide letters of recommendation for his grad school application. It was frustrating.
     
  8. CassieHughes
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    CassieHughes New Member

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    What I am writing is actually a horror story, but the set up requires some information. I have tried using the internet to find what I need but because I can't be specific about what I am looking for I'm finding thousands of pages of information that doesn't help me.

    I did find SOME helpful info, diving information, scuba information, but I am trying to find out more just so I am knowledgeable about the subject before I commit it to paper. I understand the write what you know rule, but it's horror and I know that I've never met a shapeshifter or a vampire or anything so research is the only way I can do it!

    I have emailed geologists, marine biologists, and gone onto diving forums. But its specifically to do with artefacts underwater, and the preparation that goes into trying to preserve stone structures and raising them to the surface (which I know can be done, I just wanted some technical stuff)

    Like this here:
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/pictured-incredible-underwater-city-thought-4687169

    Unfortunately there are no university libraries I can access without being a student. It's a shame because I just completed a creative writing class where I DID have access but I didn't know i'd be writing this then...

    And this is only for a very small piece in the whole. If I broke it down into chapters in my head, I'd say 2 or 3 chapters at most. But as it's a subject I know little of, I didn't want to approach it ignorantly.

    I'll leave it at least the weekend then try to contact him again later next week (In between jury duty!)
     
  9. CassieHughes
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    CassieHughes New Member

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    Yeah he said call me, gave me two numbers, but didn't say when it was ok to call so I just took the plunge with it. So now I am very wary of calling at an inconvenient time. I'd rather wait til he replied so I knew. Just didn't know if a few days or a week was ok before emailing again.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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