Jun. 23rd, 2009

terriko: (Default)
Every year, I get a couple of emails from random researchers who want my help finding papers or learning about the area. It's flattering that they think it's worth asking me, I suppose, but many of them do so with such an utter lack of tact or understanding that they border on insulting. They manage in so few words to indicate that they have no clue what they're asking. Here's part of one I got last week:


i am Interested in doing my Phd from one of the very good Candian University.but i dont know which are the best schools in canada.please help me out in this regard.


Now, at least he wasn't insulting, but... umm... I sincerely question the wisdom of cold-emailing a stranger on the internet for advice about a PhD. Doing a doctorate is more of a personal intellectual pilgrimage, and where you do it is, as far as I know, generally heavily reliant upon who you want to work with. This is actually not that far off asking some random stranger, "I hear there are nice girls in Canada. Who should I marry?"

Edit: I should mention that he says elsewhere in the mail that he's currently doing a Master's at an American university, so there shouldn't be a huge cultural divide here. I'm really quite perplexed that he would ask the stuff he did of a complete stranger.

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terriko

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