Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources

Updated 3 years 3 months ago
In Phase 1, I created ten questions that would help me start my interactions with the people of Xizhou. In Phase 2, I have found in depth answers to these questions and created new questions.
 
When I first started my research in Phase 1, I used the keywords: Xizhou, Yunnan, Farming, and History. I chose these words because I knew they would bring me closer to finding out information about my particular topic. The phrases I used were, Farming in Xizhou, Farming in the Yunnan Province, The history of farming in Yunnan. When I searched Farming in Xizhou, I did not find a lot of information besides from work of previous alumni. Therefore I changed my wondering and managed to receive lots of results using "Farming in the Yunnan Province". Since I wanted to understand what Xizhou was like before machines came along, I also searched up "The history of farming in Yunnan". This gave me some details about what tools were used and what crops were planted.
 
I know that the websites I have used to gather my information are valid websites as they all contain accurate information and they are sites focusing on history, Chinese culture, and farming. One example is chinaculture. I know this is a valid website as not only is it focusing on Chinese culture it also has "org" at the end telling us that it is an organization. Another example is historylink101. This site has lots of information but it does not focus on only china. This website as information on cultures, wars, and many other topics. I know it is a valid resource as it has information about many subjects all related to history. The author of this site is a world history teacher of public schools in Ohio since 1996.
 
When I am trying to find the author of a website I scroll to the bottom of the page to find "About Us". In this section, I can find out who the author/authors are and who is running the website. Also, I can find out about the author and understand if he or she is a reliable source.
 
I have found an expert on my topic. Her name is Laurel Bossen. She is a professor in anthropology at the McGill University in Canada. I know she is a good resource for many reasons. First of all, she has written a book called "Chinese Woman and Rural Development: Sixty Years of Change in Lu Village, Yunnan" in 2002. Bossen received her BA from Columbia University and her MA and PhD from State University Of New York at Albany. She also has received awards from the National Science Foundation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Laurel has been a Canada Research Fellow and a visiting professor at the National Museum of Ethnology in Japan and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is interested in research about gender and development in rural china, households and property rights...etc. All these facts tell me that she is dedicated to this topic and that she might be able to help me with my project. You can find her contact details on http://www.mcgill.ca/anthropology/people/fulltime/retired/laurelbossen/
 
Hi Mrs.Bossen,
I am an eight grader in Shanghai currently attending Shanghai American School. In a few weeks, me and 12 other students will be going to Xizhou in the Yunnan Province. We will be spending 28 days there and we will be studying a topic of our choice. My topic is Farming. Based on information I have read online, I have seen that you wrote a book called Chinese Woman are Rural Development: Sixty Years of Change in Lu Village, Yunnan. Also, I have seen that you are interested in gender and development in rural china, households and property rights...etc.
For my project, I have come up with a list of 10 questions that will be used to help guide me through my research once arriving in Xizhou. 
 
Life as a farmer:
1. What are some of the main tools that farmers use?
2. Who do they sell their crops to?
3. How does the weather in Xizhou affect the farming?
4. Were their parents farmers as well? Is this one of the reasons they became farmers?
 
Farming Techniques:
5. What animals do you raise on your farm and why?
6. Do the farmers still use basic wooden or metal tools?
7. What is the best season to farm?
 
Others:
8. If these people were not farmers, what other JOBS would they be able to do?
9. Did the farmers have education?
10. Did industrialization come as an advantage or disadvantage to the farmers?
 
I am not looking for answers to these questions. However, I would like some general feedback on my project so far. If possible, I would also like some extra resources that could help me in the future. If you would like, you can take a look at my project here. Thank you so much!
Sincerely, 
Alba
 
I have heard back from Mrs. Bossen and she gave me some ideas that really helped me out in the Inquiry process!
 
Three-to-Fives
 
Three-to-Fives are a helpful way to gather some helpful resources who may have knowledge about our Inquiry Project. Three-to-Fives is where we find 3-5 people, and use 3-5 minutes each to ask them questions. They later help us find other people that might be able to help us on our topic.
 
Will:
 
- Talk to the oldest farmers (over the age of 60)
- Dong Shi (bao an)
- The gardener around the Linden Centre
- Relatives of locals will know a lot about farming
- Younger female in the bar (older members of her family might know a lot)
 
Jake:
 
- Find the man in charge of the big garlic fields (find him around the Linden Centre)
- Local people plant garlic small area
 
Jo:
 
- Talk to farmers around while they are working in the fields
- Security guards
- Mr. Yang
- Ask former farming families about farming in the past
 
Mr. Tafel:
 
- Having basic conversations with farmers
- Bike North to find Farmers
- Kitchen staff relatives
- Mr. Zhao (guard)
- Most elder people have had connections to farming
- Go visit the cheese factory
- In 2000 china's population was 70% rural and 30% urban by 2020, that is going to flip.
- Talk to farmers about their point of views
 
After I interviewed Mr. Tafel, Jo, Jake and Will, I found a list of 6 people that I can talk to about my Inquiry Project. Also, Mr. T mentioned the cheese factory that I can go visit. I think that this is enough information right now as these people could give me more information and other people to talk to as well. Today I went to go take a look at the books in the Linden Centre Library but I did not find anything about my topic. However one of my class mates, Angelesia, has checked out three books on farming. Later, she said she would let me read some background information about farming.

In this Phase, I emailed an expert in my topic of farming. Also, I interviewed a few people to help me find a list of people to talk to about my Inquiry Project. In Phase 3, I have gathered information on my topic and organizing it into different categories.

Hello, my name is Alba and my time in Xizhou has now ended. I am 13 years old and I attend Shanghai American School. I have lived in Shanghai for 8 years now. Before that I lived in Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan. I wanted to join the Microcampus program to experience living out of the "bubble" life. I was a part of the O.R.E.O spring Microcampus trip of 2016. I am so happy I got to come here and learn about my inquiry project, bond with locals, have personal growth and develop more intercultural understanding!