And moreover, how to do so outside of one's own discipline? I realize the burden of entry is necessarily high in this kind of case, but if I have a literature search, discussion, and conclusion written, followed by tentative methodology proposal, would that be enough to 'shop around' to researchers in relevant fields?

(background: I am working in the humanities, although before switching tracks I'd gotten a BS in cognitive and perceptual psychology, with 3+ years of experience working in a human factors lab. However, having kept up with other fields after switching to humanities, I've noticed some implications in a biomedical paper; I've emailed authors in and around that topic, and while there's some interest, no one's in a position to experimentally follow up.)

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    What are you trying to accomplish? Why do you need them? Is the research question in humanities or biomedicine? Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 21:02
  • the research question is in biomedicine, although it uses biomedical findings to point out a potential application drawn from the anthropological + public health literature; I need them because the question must be answered using biomedical tools to which I do not have access (or the training to use); I am trying to accomplish an empirical corroboration or disproof of this potential application. Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 21:11
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    Do you want help? Critique? What? Can you clarify? Commented Feb 6 at 0:50
  • Please edit The question to provide more context. What kind of "implications" are you talking about here - some error in a high-profile publication, a further research topic, or some interesting discrepancy? Are you looking for someone to work with you, to jointly apply for funding, or to do all the work themself? Critically, as also pointed out in the current answer, why do you already have a conclusion when no experiment has been made yet? Commented Feb 6 at 6:02

2 Answers 2


This question is almost impossible to answer. It depends heavily on your position in academia and the details of your research. If you are an established researcher, it is not outlandish to "shop around" for a collaborator with a skill that you lack. If this is the case, I think what you are doing is appropriate - frustrating as it may be. You could also consider looking through university directories and identifying researchers who are working on your area of interest. Often labs will have public webpages describing research and whether or not they are open to collaboration. If you are coming from outside academia or are not well established, this could be more challenging.

But, fundamentally, I think your question is backwards. Generally, at least in my field, its rather poor form to write a conclusion and search for experimental validation after the fact - although I may be misunderstanding what you mean by:

I have a literature search, discussion, and conclusion written, followed by tentative methodology proposal.

It seems to me that if you have a conclusion and discussion, your paper should stand on its own. The experimental side may be nice to have and increase impact but could be pushed to a later date. In fact it may be easier to find a collaborator if you're idea has passed peer-review. If the paper needs experimental validation, anything you claim now is speculation. I can't imagine many researchers will be open to the vague post-hoc request of "prove this conclusion for me".

My recommendation is to either learn the skills necessary yourself (admittedly this may not be practical) or continue to do as you are doing and contact researchers in your field of interest. Your "pitch" need not be more complicated than a professional email stating that they are working in an area you are interested in and you would like to collaborate.


From my own experience, presenting a research idea to someone at another institution, especially outside of one's own discipline, is indeed challenging but not insurmountable. The key to success lies in clear, concise communication and demonstrating the interdisciplinary relevance and potential impact of your idea. Given your background in humanities and previous experience in cognitive and perceptual psychology, plus your continuous engagement with various fields, you're in a unique position to propose interdisciplinary research. The challenge of finding someone with the resources and interest to pursue experimental follow-ups is significant, especially in fields as resource-intensive as biomedical research. However, your comprehensive preparation and the interdisciplinary nature of your proposal could be highly appealing to the right audience. Keep in mind that persistence is key. Interdisciplinary research is increasingly valued for its potential to address complex questions, but finding the right collaboration partners often requires reaching out to many potential contacts and being prepared to refine your proposal based on feedback.

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