Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection

Updated 10 months 2 weeks ago

What is written here is only the first step in a very long and fun journey. As of now, what we have done is choose one specific topic from a list of many that we were provided with. At first, while reading through these topics there were many interesting things but over time I had to choose which three I specifically wanted to do, and then finally in the end out of those three I picked one. With this topic, I will do research on it up until March where 15 other students and I go to a local village in Xizhou to further develop our knowledge of this topic. 

As I was first looking at this topics, simply enough, I first thought of some of the things I loved and paid closer attention to any topics that seem like they would include things that I love. There were around 3 or 4 topics that I started to look at other students who have done those topics and what they thought of it. As I was reading these I was mainly paying attention to the results of what they did and I saw if it matched what I had in mind and afterward, I was left with 3 topics that I would love to do. The other two topics that I wanted to do but did not end up doing were local cooking and local fishing.

I decided not to investigate local cooking because I feel like although it would definitely be very fun, I do not think that I would be able to learn as much compared to the other topics.

With local fishing, it was not that I did not like it, but actually that I liked the idea of antiques and collectibles more given the fact that I have more personal interest in it. 

I think what made me decide to choose the topic antiques and collectibles is the fact that I have always been a bit of a hoarder and this topic just seems very very interesting. This topic would be important to me because I would see a very different part of the local village and I would meet many interesting people. I think what I will try and find out is how the people in this business remain secretive and if it has any major good or bad effects on them because of the fact they are hiding this, however in order to achieve this I will try to find a big collector with a family and see if I could talk to them about their life, how they got in the business, and how it has personally affected that person and their life. In the end, I chose this topic above the other two mainly because of personal interest, the fun it will be unraveling all the little secrets of the trade, as well as having the chance to meet some very interesting people on the way.

As I was reading through other student's work, I realized that there was a lot of overlap in what advice they would give themselves. An example of this is how Graham, Aniketh and Yi Fei all talked about how they wish they had jumped right in and form positive relationships as soon as possible. In addition to this, Max talked about how he wished that he had done 10 minutes a day and make sure that he was on task or ahead. I think overall a lot of the advice all falls under getting right into it and being prepared which seems like very good advice.

What I have done so far is just the beginning of this journey. I have outlined my main interests as well as what I will do for my inquiry project, and as I move on to Phase 1 I will start to develop questions to guide my research for the final product.

I was part of the Microcampus Voyager group and I had an amazing time! Microcampus was an amazing experience and I will never forget it. My topic for the Inquiry Project was antiques and collectibles and I encourage any future Microcampus students to look into this topic. If any students in the future need my help, feel free to contact me at and I will be happy to help! Good luck to future Microcampus students! Sam