Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources

Updated 1 year 2 months ago

This is Phase 2, where I will be finding contacts to help guide me through my research and comment on my work. If you saw my previous Phase, Phase 1, you will see that I have made the 10 big questions that will guide me through my research. These questions were created after doing my background research in Phase 3.

When finding information on my background research, I used some specific keywords to search for the information I needed. These keywords had to be specific to find the information I wanted in order to get rid of irrelevant information that shows up on the search page. Some of these keywords were Yunnan geography, Dianhong tea, Pu'er tea, Yunnan Tea-horse trail, History of Yunnan tea, and so on. The reasons that I choose these keywords will be shown below.

Yunnan geography

I searched up Yunnan geography to find out the geography of Yunnan for the purpose of finding out its climate. I wanted to find out the geography is so I could see the conditions the tea leaves are grown under, as conditions greatly affect the tea leaves growth and development.

Tea in Yunnan

I searched up Tea in Yunnan to find out the types of tea grown specifically in Yunnan so I could find a type or types of tea to focus on, as I want to thin down my research points. I also wanted to know how prominent tea is in Yunnan, so I could find its influences and pinpoint the reasons why they are grown in Yunnan.

Dian hong tea

I searched up Dian hong tea because after researching tea in Yunnan, I found that Dian hong tea was a very famous tea in Yunnan, so I searched Dian hong tea specifically to find out more about its traits and why it is so famous in Yunnan. Another reason I searched it up to find out how it is grown and turned from a raw tea leaf to a fully processed tea drink.

Pu'er tea

The reason that I searched up Pu'er tea is again, like Dian Hong tea, is because from the results from searching up tea in Yunnan, I found that pu'er tea is one of the most famous teas in Yunnan and the world, as it is named from a city in Yunnan. So In order to find out more about it, I searched up Pu'er tea to find out more about its traits, how its made, and why it has become so prominent in Yunnan and the world

Yunnan Tea-horse trail

The reason I searched up Yunnan Tea-horse trail is that while researching Pu'er tea, I found that this tea is very famous for being traded on the horse tea trail, and because I saw the tea horse trail as a topic on the original list of ideas, I wanted to know more about what the tea-horse trail was. I added Yunnan to the keyword after figuring out that there were two separate trails, so I wanted to search specifically for the Yunnan trail.

History of Yunnan tea

I searched up the History of Yunnan tea to see how the teas developed into the teas today, as so I can see how Dian Hong and Pu'er tea became so famous. But another main reason is to gain some cultural insight into the tea and to give me an idea of what tea was like back then and what role it played in peoples life. 

When I used these keywords to search up information, I had to evaluate my sources to discover their reliability as I could not take unreliable sources as it may tamper my research and understanding of tea. So I had to use some techniques to assess all of my sources, that of which I will explain. One of my main ways of making sure my source is reliable is by finding other sources with the same information, as multiple sources showing the same information means less room for error and unreliable information. I at least found two sources that had the same information, if not, three. Other ways include: Checking for author names, author credibility, work cited, recency, the organizations the website is connected to, and how well built the website is. the author names help give me an idea of who wrote this, the author credibility is to see how trustworthy the author is, the work cited help tells me that the author has based his research off of something instead of nothing, the recency help tells me that the website is based on recent information,the organizations the website is connected to help tell me if the website is made professionally, and how well built the website is to tell me if the author has put work into making the website.

As in the previous paragraph, I talked about finding the author to understand who created the website, but I have not explained how it is done. I find the author usually through the about me or about us section, if the author name has not been stated in the article in the first place. When I go to the about me/us section, I watch out for names of the people who created the article, the organization they are connected with, and their education/occupation. This all helps me to confirm how reliable the website is.

In order to get feedback on my work, I have personally contacted a professional and asked her to examine my work. I choose this person because she understands the trade and of tea in the city of Xishuangbanna. You can see the message I sent to this expert on tea in Xishuangbanna below.

Dear Mrs. Hillan,

I have seen that you are an expert on the history of the tea trade in Yunnan. I am currently doing a project on Yunnan tea with a list of 10 questions:

  1. What are the tea farmer's economic status
  2. What are the farmer's vision of tea bags and pre-bottled tea
  3. How and Where do the farmers sell their tea
  4. What tools do farmers use to cultivate tea
  5. What is the process of creating Pu-erh tea from start to finish
  6. What are the different jobs in the entire process of creating tea?
  7. What are the differences in teas that the poor and the rich drink
  8. What differentiates a high-quality Pu'erh tea from a low-quality Pu-erh tea
  9. Why is the Yunnan location so good for growing tea
  10. Where are the tea fields placed usually

And I would like you to look over my project at, at which you are welcome to comment on and give feedback.

With best regards
Sunny Qi
Microcampus Project 2018-Shanghai American School

Mrs. Hillan has not responded as of this time.

A 3-5 is a short conversation lasting for 3-5 minutes with an expert to find out more about the topic you are interested in. I asked four people: Ms .B, Mr. Chen, Ms. Mai and Mr. Tafel. I picked these four people because they have been in Xizhou for much longer than I have and thus know many more resources and contacts around the village. I can ask them for contacts and people that experts in tea. Here are the contacts and resources that I have received in turn.

Mr. Chen

  • Tea shop at Northeast Corner of the SFJ towards of Linden center, Xiao Ji
  • Tea shop right beside the temple
  • tea booths right before morning market

Ms. B

  • Xiao Bai teacup shop to the right of the wooden gate
  • Tea shop to the right of a telephone booth, on the corner
  • Tea shop down ran Yi Xiang to si fang jie

Ms. Mai

  • Tea plantation on mountains, 15 minutes by car
  • tea shops in morning market
  • to the right of the wooden gate and beside and across of temple, 3 tea shops

Mr. Tafel

  • Town south of Dali old town, in the linden center knows the shop and town
  • Shang Shi Jie, shops through there
  • Morning market, few shops
  • tea shops along the road to the morning market

After the 3-5s, I have found as many as 8 tea shops to go to so I feel that I have found enough resources and contacts for the coming weeks as I will be heading back to these tea shops very often for more information. These tea shops may also recommend other shops too, which could enlarge my contacts list so that I won't have to keep searching for tea shops when I run out of them.

I also went to the Linden Center library to find useful books for my topic. The books that contain information about tea history, the tea horse trail, the production of tea and the brewing of tea would be extremely helpful to my research.

In Phase 2, I searched for helpful resources that I could use for my research of tea and got comfortable with doing 3-5s with other people in order to gain information. In my next Phase, Phase 3, I will be using 3-5s on the contacts I received in order to gain and organize information for my tea research.

My name is Sunny, and I was a part of the Voyagers group in microcampus.I'm a gamer, artist, and love building stuff! I chose to join the Microcampus program because I want to become more independent and learn the lesser known cultures of China. The trip was amazing and I hope to come to Xizhou again.