I have completed my masters, and am currently working on a year-long project, and I am hoping that I will be accepted for a PhD position sometime by the end of this year. Although, my current project is going alright, I want to 'explore' a new field by working on some concrete research project. By explore, I mean I have a general interest and enthusiasm towards this field, but I do not know enough about it to articulate a sensible research question. Hence, I was considering cold emailing a professor in this field asking for his supervision and expertise in this matter.
Under the guidance of someone who actively works on this topic, I was hoping I could gain a more thorough understanding of this field and a hands on experience of what it is like working in this field. I do not think my enthusiasm for this topic is fickle, so I expect that if there is a project, I will not abandon it midway. I don't think I will be wasting a Professor's time (at least in this sense) if I were to work on any project of this sort. I also do not ask for any financial support from them. But my concern is that there does not seem to be any backbone for this project, as is usually there for summer projects or MS projects. I also do not have a specific research question or idea in mind, so I can't approach them by trying to discuss a particular idea or problem. Adding to all of this, I am also very unfamiliar with the world of academia, and how these things work. So I wish to ask-
- Is it appropriate to contact professors (whom I have had no previous contact with previously) for any possible research opportunities, for a person in my situation? How is it generally perceived by Professors? What may be the typical response (if at all there is one)? In general, how do collaborations work?
- If it is appropriate, would you have any suggestions as to how one might approach them/email them? What should be the email's contents? What should I keep in mind when writing such an email?
Thanks for reading!