Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection

Updated 10 months 1 week ago

This is only the beginning of my learning journey with the topic I am most fond of. This will also be the most exciting journey yet from learning new information from a completely new environment, and not just the typical 'memorize words from a textbook' style. When looking through all the topics we get to focus on, there were so many fascinating options. However, I was able to narrow it down to my top three favorites. Later on, I had to choose among the three, which was hard, and I finally chose one. 

The process that I used to narrow the list of possible topics is by first, looking through to the ones I am interested in because I will be working on one of these topics for a month. After this, I looked over again to see whether it is a broad topic or a narrow topic. The broader the topic is, the more interesting information I get to cover and learn more about. After using these two steps, I ended up with three possible topics. The first topic is local food products and cuisine. The second possible topic is local spirits, legends, and stories. Finally, the last topic is local plant and insect life.

The first possible topic I chose was local food products and cuisine, however, I did not choose to focus on this later on. This is because most dishes are homemade in villages such as the one we are going to visit, and it will be difficult to find local food products. I also think that it would not be polite if I was to come into someone's kitchen and watch him or her cook.

The second topic that I had but then discarded was local spirits, legends, and stories. I discarded this topic later on because I did not think this will mainly affect the society currently.

I chose to focus on as my main topic is local plant and insect life. I chose to investigate this particular topic because different parts of the world have different biomes, so in other words, each location has its own special and unique terrain I will be learning about. This topic is important to me because I enjoy exploring what is new in a completely different and unique environment, such as learning about local cacti that are uniquely located in Yunnan Province. I am planning to find out how plants and insects can fit into the life of Yunnan Province, such as the people's staple food and how they survive and live through this location full of life, by asking the local people and exploring the woods myself to get the experience on how life is in this place.

Reading from others' reflection on this trip, Laura L. from Alumni-S talked about how this trip had made her realize how she approaches people and fitting into a new environment. Since I am also a loud person like Laura, I am keeping a mental note to lower down my voice not only going to Yunnan Province, however, wherever I am. She also said that this location does not have many wild animals compared to different plants. This helps me point my main focus on the plants.  Rebecca S. from Alumni-D, on the other hand, said that her focus on the topic shifted throughout the trip in Microcampus. This provides me with a mental note that this will happen, and I will be prepared for this change. Christopher L. from Alumni-B said that it was actually hard to find what the plants were. This thought helps prepare me for this challenge ahead of time so I know what to expect. Finally, Sydney F. from Alumni-N said that she had trouble with teacher support because she was unprepared and did not have the 'right' questions. This made her research challenging. Her reflection helped me note that teacher support will be very beneficial to our research and we should make use of this well and come prepared full of questions.

In Phase 0, I have considered all of the possible topics I want to do in Yunnan Province and chose what I want to focus on for a month. Coming up next, Phase 1 will be helping me begin researching my topic by using supporting questions to do so. 


Hello! I am Josie and I enjoy learning new things and spending time outside, alone and with friends. I am a big fan of animals and nature and that is why my inquiry project topic is about local plants and insect life. Currently, I am in Xizhou completing my inquiry project.