Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources

Updated 4 years 1 week ago

In Phase 1, I have gathered some background information on my Inquiry Project and have come up with ten major questions to guide me through my topic research.

When working on researching in Phase 3, I used the keywords, "gender", "roles", "china", "traditional". I chose these words because my topic is on gender roles, and more specifically, I wanted to know about gender roles in traditional China. If I wanted to make my search more specific, then I would add words like "education" or "family".  

To make sure the information I found was valid, I decided to go to more websites that ended in ".edu". This is because websites with URLs that end with ".edu" are usually written by universities. For example, one website that I used that ended in ".edu" was from Michigan State University. Some other websites that I used were online encyclopedias, online magazines, or online news that are well known, which are probably reliable, too. Another way to find out if the information from a website was reliable was to check if many other sources have the same facts. It is also very helpful to find out who published the author, and if they are an expert on the topic. For example, on article that I read and gathered much information from, "Women in Traditional China", was written by Patricia Ebrey, who is an author specialized in Chinese culture and gender issues. To find out who published the information, I can either look at the very bottom of the page, where sometimes there will be contact information of the publishers written, or, I can go to the top of the page, where usually there will be an "about us" or "contact us" link. There, I can find information about the publishers. Also, usually, below the title of the piece of writing or article, there will be the author's name, and sometimes a link with it that is attached to a page that tells readers more information about the author. 

In order to better understand my topic, I have contacted Patricia Buckley Ebrey, a professor at the University of Washington, who had received her AB at the University of Chicago and her MA and PhD at the Columbia University. I have chosen to contact her because she is an expert on Chinese culture and topics on gender roles and gender issues in China. She has also published some books including Inner Quarters: Marriage and the Lives of Chinese Women in the Sung Period, Confucianism and Family Rituals in Imperial China, and many more, which proves that she has much knowledge on these topics. She can be contacted by her email, which is

Below is the email that I have sent to Mrs. Ebrey:

Dear Mrs. Patricia Ebrey,

I am a student from Shanghai American School, an international school in China. I am currently in the Microcampus program, a program in which a selected group of 8th grade students are given the opportunity to travel together to Xizhou, Yunnan for 28 days. During this time, each student will delve into Xizhou's culture by choosing a related topic to study. For my topic, I have chosen to study the different gender roles in the village of Xizhou where I will be interviewing the locals living there. During my process of researching background information on my topic, I have read your article, "Women in Traditional China", from Asia Society, and have found it very informational and helpful for my research. Also, I have found that you are specialized in Chinese cultural and gender issues and have published many books on these topics, including gender roles in traditional China. For further research on my project, I have come up with a 10 questions to guide me through my researching process- they are listed below:
1. Are parent's expectations different for their sons and daughters? If so, how and why are they different?
2. Do the expectations of the children's families and the society that they live in affect how the goals of boys and girls are different? If so, how? 
3. Are teacher's expectations different for boys and girls? If they are, how and why are they different?
4. Are there differences for education between boys and girls? If so, what are the differences?
5. Do boys and girls get different chances of receiving good education?
6. How are boys and girls raised differently in the family, and why?
7. Are there differences between the responsibilities of boys and girls in their families? If so, what are the differences?
8. Are boys' and girls' extra-curricular activities different? If so, how?
9. Is there any gender inequality between boys and girls? If so, what are the children's thoughts on it?
10. Have the differences of education, expectations, and responsibilities between boys and girls changed over the past decades? if so, in what ways?
If you have some time, I hope you can review the work that I have done so far for my project in Microcampus at . I am not asking for direct answers to the 10 questions that I have come up with, I am just looking for some feedback on my work, some advice on further research, and, if you have time to think of any, some possible links to resources that might help me better understand my topic. I understand if you are busy as an author and a professor at the University of Washington and do not have much time. I would appreciate it very much, though, if you could find time to reply and send some helpful feedback soon. Thank you very much! I am looking forward to hearing from you.

So far, Mrs. Ebrey has not replied to the email. 

Moving on, after trying to contact an expert on my topic, I will start on my three-to-fives. Three-to-fives are three to five minute interviews with three to five people. The purpose of these interviews is to find out who to make connections with in the village of Xizhou to learn more about the Inquiry Project topic. Mr. Tafel is my first contact. This was a required interview, since Mr. Tafel has known Xizhou for around 14 years, and has had experience with previous Microcampus student's Inquiry Projects. Next, I also chose Ms. Mai to have a three-to-five interview with, since she has had about the same experience as Mr. Tafel and has a lot of knowledge on Xizhou. Another contact I chose was Jo, since she probably is very resourceful on who to go to for more information on my topic. The last three-to-five interviewee was Yu Jiang, who also knew Xizou very well. Once I have completed my three-to-fives, I have many possible contacts that I interview and make connections with for my Inquiry Project, they are listed below:

Recommendations from Mr. Tafel:

  • In general, villagers who are from Xizhou, and are familiar with the Microcampus program, for example:
  • Restaurant owners
  • Mrs. Zhao's family (family of Old Town Snacks)
  • Mr. Du (antique shop owner)
  • Mr. Duan (soldier)
  • Ms. Ma and her children (antique shop owner)
  • Teenagers in town

Recommendations from Ms. Mai:

  • Mr. Yang (Linden Center guard)
  • Ms. Dong (Golden Flower Restaurant owner)
  • Ms. Zhao and her family (Old Town Snack owner)
  • Mr. Zhao (second Linden Center Commons guard)
  • Lao Mao (antique shop owner)
  • Ms. Ma and Mr. Yang (antique shop owner)

Recommendations from Jo:

  • Linden Center staff
  • Linden Center staff family 
  • Children and head of Cheng Bei Cun Kindergarten (城北村幼儿园)

Recommendations from Yu Jiang:

  • Children of Cheng Zhang Kindergarten (成长幼儿园)
  • Ms. Ying (Head of Cheng Zhang Kindergarten, 成长幼儿园)
  • Linden Center staff
  • Linden Center staff families
  • Yang Ai Gang (Linden Center Guard)

After gathering these sources from my three-to-fives, I decided that I have plenty of sources that I could use for my Inquiry Project research. There are many people that I can talk to right now, and I have many places to begin. These options are mostly people who are open and can share much information with me. Additionally, besides the people that I could interview and make connections with, Mr. Tafel also suggested that in general, I should observe the locals (especially the students) around me and their habits to better understand my topic. 

Finally, the last place that went to, to look for resources for my Inquiry Project research, was the Linden Center library. Jo had helped recommend a few Chinese books there that would help me on my topic. She recommended 《《周城文化-中国百族名村的田野调查》》, which has information about how women's social status and responsibilites in their families have changed over time, 《《喜洲珍闻纪实》》, which has information about how girls and boys are blessed in different ways after they are born, and 《《新编大理风物志》》, which has information about how boys and girls had arranged marriages. These books will certainly help me on my research, since they contain much information.

In conclusion, in Phase 2, I have found some helpful resources from websites, from my three-to-fives, and from the Linden Center library. I can use these resources to research more about my Inquiry Project. Now, I will be moving on to working on Phase 3, where my research can my found. 

My name is Chelsea, I am 13 years old. I was born in Chicago, and I moved to Shanghai when I was 3 years old. Ever since then, I have lived in Shanghai. I really enjoy reading, art, music (I play piano and violin), anime, and traveling. Throughout our journey in Microcampus, I learned so much and grown as a student of this program. I discovered more about myself and enjoyed becoming part of this community. Microcampus has become an extremely unforgettable and life-changing experience for me.