Me and your research

I don’t get many requests to take part in research, but the rate seems to be increasing, and the to-and-fro takes up everyone’s bandwidth. Therefore this;

Dear Xx/Xy/prefer not to say,

I am flattered by your request to take part in your research. My decision always leans to ‘no’ because of a) time constraints and b) your research focus [see below], but it’s only a lean. It all depends on your answers to the following questions.

Deal-breakers (and therefore if the answer to these is ‘no’, then we can both save time and move on.)

  1. Are you willing and able to make a recording of this interview in a format that makes sense (i.e. MP3, not some obscure proprietary software) and provide it to me.

  2. Are you willing to provide a typed transcript of my interview within 30 days of it being recorded.

  3. What are your supervisors’ contact details. Just in case you promise 1 and 2 and then don’t deliver, I will contact them.

  4. And, the biggest deal breaker of them all:

    What is your detailed plan for making your work available and accessible to activists in “the movement” (not that it actually exists in any meaningful sense) ? Please note, if the sum total of your plan is sticking a copy of your article – probably written in academese- on some obscure website or, then that  will not impress me much (at all). Activists are busy and few are trained in decoding jargon and wading through the passive voice treacle demanded of early career researchers. So what is your plan? If you’ve done a ‘here’s the version for activists’ thing before, send me that. If you haven’t, well, everyone has to start somewhere, don’t they?

Less deal-breaker-y

5.  Why haven’t you chosen to study the rich, as per this quote? Please read this short story before continuing
6. How long is this going to take (not a deal-breaker, probably)
7. The quality of your questions. Don’t be banal. Don’t bore me. Don’t try to box me in with assumptions – I will challenge them
8. Are you offering anonymity (I’m probaby not that bothered by this)

By now you would be a bit weird if you were not thinking  ‘screw this arrogant prick‘. That’s fine. If you still want to know what I think about issue x, you can do a keyword search on either or It’s probably quicker and less irritating than interviewing me anyways.


  • you will send me a copy of your completed work
  • you will alert me to the publication of your work in any journals/use of material on websites/blogs etc.
  • Remember, I have your supervisors’ details…

After all this, you might answer ‘satisfactorily’ to all the above and I still say no because a) I’m too busy b) my spider senses are tingly.

Contact me if you want.

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