Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection
First of all, I would like to say how I understand that this trip will involve me researching a topic of high interest about Xizhou's culture and/or people for an extended period of time. This meant that I could not just pick any topic for the inquiry project, but a topic that I will be interested in for a long time, as I will be staying in Xizhou for 28 days. There were not many topics that I was considering, so it was not too hard for me to narrow down all of my topics to just one. My process was quite simple: I would look through all of the topics given, and cross out the projects I knew I was not going to have any interest in while keeping my eyes on the topics I had some sort of interest in. After many times of crossing out projects, I was left with very few topics and I would start to compare the few topics to see which ones stood out to me.
This list includes the discarded topics and the reason why I did not choose it:
- Tools and Technology-I thought that I would lose interest in this topic after a while of researching.
- Local Food Products/Cuisine- I feel like there were other topics that were more interesting than this one, not to mention that I feel like this topic was overdone, so I wanted to research something else that was less done.
- Farming- I felt like that farming was too broad of a subject, so I wanted something that was more focused and narrowed down.
- Wall propaganda messages in Xizhou- I wanted to study parts of China's history before the PRC and RC, so I put the propaganda messages off.
- Local education system- I would have chosen this topic, but because access to the local education system is getting more and more restricted, Mr.Tafel has since gotten rid of this choice.
I chose tea as my choice because I personally love tea as a drink as it comes with a refreshing taste while staying healthy, making it one of my top picks. This topic is important to me because I drink tea almost every day, and whenever I drink it, I think about the events that came with it, such events as its contribution to the Silk Road, how China became one of the most powerful empires in the world because of it, the cultures it influenced such as Japan and the UK, and the opium wars, therefore this topic interests me massively. I plan to find out how tea is made, where it started from, and what other major influences the drink had. I could imagine me going up to tea farmers or/and makers and asking what process the tea leaves had gone through to go from a leaf to a drink, while also trying to gain information on its historical value.
There were some suggestions I saw from Microcampus alumni that I would like to point out. I read from both Lauren C. and Angela C. that I should try to narrow down my topic on tea, focusing on a smaller aspect of tea instead of capturing everything about tea, as it will consume way too much time if I try to capture everything. Ashley Y. Also said that I should not be scared of talking to the villagers as I will have to talk to them even if I am scared of talking to them. And the final suggestion is again from Lauren C., which is to always listen and ask for suggestions from my chaperones, as it will help me with my research process.
In conclusion, for Phase 0, I showed my process of picking my inquiry project. I listed out the choices I was considering and the reason why I did not choose them and showed why I chose the topic that I did in detail. For Phase 1, I will dig deeper into the topic I chose and give some insight on what I will be trying to find out about my topic.