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I am having couple issues here. First I am an International student and English is my third language. I am very shy and having tough times approaching people for help. I am writing my Master's thesis (in Art History) and I am still in the beginning and while I struggle in formulating my thesis and question, I know what is my topic going to be about. There were two academics who have written about this topic and I do not know how to connect with them and perhaps ask for a help with literature or advice and perhaps discuss my topic for ideas. My thesis advisor hasn't been responsive to my emails and last semester she was on sabbatical which slows me down significantly. But he is a wonderful advisor and have given me great direction regarding the topic and what arguments would have been possible to discuss.

I would welcome any suggestions on how best to approach a professor/ academic from a different university/ organization to help me with literature choices, give me a feedback on my topic choice, and with general help to work on a research topic.

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    Could you send them an e-mail? – dimpol Jan 18 '17 at 8:46
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... a professor/academic ... to help me with literature choices, give me a feedback on my topic choice, and with general help to work on a research topic.

From the last part of your question, the tasks you describe sound like the responsibilities of a supervisor or co-supervisor. If you need that much assistance in your research you should talk to your current supervisor about getting a co-supervisor to help you with topics in which your current supervisor isn't knowledgeable. Also, it is helpful to have a co-supervisor when one supervisor is away for any reason (conference or sabbatical). Usually a co-supervisor would come from within your university, but I have seen cases where professors from two different universities supervised a student together.

Another option, since you're a Master's student, would be to have a PhD or post-doctoral researcher in your department help to mentor you in your research. They won't necessarily have all the answers, but they could help point you to helpful resources or research methods that they have used.

Either way, you really need to talk to your supervisor about whatever is preventing you from progressing with your research. It's your supervisor's job to make sure you have access to the right resources and that your research is moving in the right direction. If you can't reach your supervisor, talk to your graduate coordinator or department head about getting someone to help you while your supervisor is away.

I am an International student and English is my third language. I am very shy and having tough times approaching people for help.

If you're uncomfortable approaching people for help because of a language barrier, then look into language resources at your university. Many universities where English is the primary language offer language lessons for non-native speakers. Hopefully that will improve your confidence in speaking with others. In any case you should be very proud to speak three languages!

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