Penpalling & Letters

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

A research about penpalling

Some time ago I got an e-mail where it was stated that a sociologist and anthropologist from Belgium was working on a research about penpalling in order to get her PhD degree.
To do this research, she needs the help of, at least, 500 people from all over the world who are into penpalling and who are willing to fill out a questionnaire, so I thought to write a post about this and copy her request here, so everybody interested in participating can contact her directly. I guess it will be interesting to know the final results when the project is finished.

My name is Ellen, I’m 36 and from Belgium. I’m a sociologist and anthropologist. At the moment I am trying to obtain a PhD degree. Therefor I would like to research penpalling. I chose this topic first of all as it is something which not a lot of research has been done about yet and secondly because I am into penpalling myself.

There are several different aspects of penpalling which I’d like to research to get to know people’s views and opinions about it, e.g. why people start penpalling, what experiences they had in penpalling (both good and bad), if they ever met penpals and if these meetings were successful etc…

At the same time I’d also like to do some statistical research: how many people does the average penpal write to, how often do people write to each other, in which countries is penpalling most popular, etc…

To do this research, I need the help of at least 500 people from all over the world who are into penpalling and who are willing to (anonymously!) fill out a questionnaire for me.

If you’d like to help me, please send me an e-mail (my e-mail address is mentioned below). You don’t necessarily need to write anything in the e-mail. Just write “questionnaire” in the subject box. I will then mail you a document with the questions which you can answer and return to me.

In time I will set up a website to put my research results online. I’ll send a link to everybody who participates in my research, so you can check out the results.


I’m starting this on 1st November 2009. I have been given about a year’s time for the research, so I’m closing this project on 31st December 2010. If you receive this letter after that date, you don’t need to pass it on any more.

Thank you for taking time to read this, and I hope you will take part! Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.

Ellen Ramakers



  1. I sent an email. I'd love to see the results in December.

  2. I took part in her questionaire a couple of months ago and its actually worth it to complete for yourself too as it gives you a better view/reflection on what your doing.