How to Request a Research Interview

Whether you're writing a scholarly article, a thesis, a book or a piece for a publication, you may need to conduct some of your research with interviews. Requesting an interview for research purposes can be intimidating, as you are asking that someone devote their time to help you. Going to the trouble of conducting these interviews will serve to validate the information in your work and help further your reputation as a professional and expert in your field.

Request an Interview by Letter or Email

Open with a formal salutation that greets the individual by name, using the appropriate prefix or honorific (i.e., "Dear Mr. Brown"). Write a brief introductory paragraph explaining who you are and how how you got the recipient's name (by reputation, a reference, a website).
Write the body of the letter, explaining that you wish to interview the recipient for research purposes. Explain in one to two sentences the purpose of the interview and what type of information you are looking for.
Write a concluding paragraph and include your phone number and/or email address. Inform the recipient of when you are able to conduct the interview. Thank the recipient for his time and mention you look forward to speaking with him.

Request an Interview by Phone

Ask for the individual using the appropriate prefix or honorific (i.e., "May I speak with Mr. Brown?"). Introduce yourself, including both your name and what school or organization you are affiliated with.
Explain that you are conducting research, and briefly sum up the topic. Let the individual know you are interested in interviewing experts in the field, and that this is the reason you are contacting him.
Ask the individual if he is available for an interview and when. Provide the individual with your name again, as well as a phone number and/or email address so you can set up a time. Thank the individual for speaking with you.


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