Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources

Updated 21 hours 21 min ago

In Phase 2, I will be looking for more sources of information that can push my inquiry project even further. I finished Phase 0 earlier where I chose my inquiry project's topic while in Phase 1 I have come up with the questions that would guide my project throughout Microcampus.

The main keywords I used to find all of my background information needed be include a variety of information from TCM basics to the criticism. Therefore, to find websites that included more general information I used the terms Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine. Sometimes I included the words safety, efficiency, and news with those terms to find the different viewpoints of the medicines. As a result, I ended up with tons of basic information about both sides of medicine and quiet a through understanding of the western medicine standpoint (all of this can be found in Phase 3 in Background Information).

I mainly avoided sites that were commercial (.com) and instead stuck to websites created by organizations (.org). However, even then, I still had to check for the reliability of the sources just in case. I mainly focused on recency. This is because with the world of ever developing technology, medicine also changes along with it. Another part I had to check for was bias. Bias was tricky to deal with since to find different stand points I had to look through biased websites, however I needed to make sure the biased websites were not so overly biased to a point of information manipulation. I compared lots of different articles to check for the accuracy of information, mainly comparing their descriptions and explanation of procedures. Another way was to check the author and what they had studied in to determine which side they may be biased in. I checked their About Us pages and often found out the site was written by groups of people who had similar fields of medicine. 

I found two medical experts that had experience in the Traditional Chinese medicine to help my expansion of knowledge on TCM and its views. The first expert I reached out to is called Timothy Regan, he teaches Traditional Chinese Medicine at the university of Bridgeport since 2006, and has taught for almost 10 years since then. I chose him because with his experience, he would have full knowledge about Traditional Chinese Medicine from the beliefs to the procedures and uses (questions 4-7) . The second expert I found was called Jennifer Brett who is instead more focused on the different types of TCM (acupuncture, herbalism, etc.). I hope that she will be able to provide more insight especially about my questions on growth and future. 

Dear Mr. Regan,

I am Austin, an 8th grader currently studying at Shanghai American School (SAS), I was chosen to be part of an experience called Microcampus where I will spend a month in a Yunan, Xizhou observing the beliefs and perspective about medicine found there. 

However, before I go on my trip to Xizhou, I have done some research about my topic and come up with some questions that would take me to Xizhou. I found out that you are very knowledgable about the history and philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, so I am hoping that you could provide some feedback and insight about some of my questions and research. To be clear, I am not looking for the answers about my questions, instead I am looking for advice on how to improve my questions and research. For example, if the questions is either too broad, imposible to answer, etc. Click here if you would like to review my project so far, but below are the questions I have come up with. Down below is the email I sent to both experts. 

Influences

1. Which type of medicine is more advertised and promote?
Traditional Chinese medicine would probably be the most common since it has been around longer therefore having a longer time to root itself in the rural village.

2. What does the public education teach about healthcare and medicine?
I am quiet unsure about this answer, however I would believe that the public education has bits of Western medicine science in it but will still promote Traditional Chinese medicine in general.

3. Is there any "active" opposition against either type of medicine anywhere in Xizhou?
Western Medicine may be ridiculed and discouraged within families, but public discouragement (such as announcements, posters, etc.) are probably minimal or none at all. 

Beliefs and Perspectives

4. What are the views about medicine (Western and Chinese) of the professionals (Pharmacy owners, doctors, etc.)?
Professionals at hospitals probably work with Western medicine since it is more globalized, however TCM could be dominant within family owned medical shops and pharmacies. 

5. What type of awareness between Western medicine and Chinese medicine is found within different generations of citizens? 
Although younger generations may not be as aware about the differences between Western medicine and Traditional Chinese medicine (because TCM is becoming packaged more similarly to WM), they are probably more willing to embrace the ways of WM. On the other hand, older generations probably understand the basic differences and are more likely to advocate for TCM. 

Usage

6. When are either types of medicines used?
TCM is probably used to treat smaller diseases because it has a "longer lasting effect" while Western medicine is probably used in dire situation since it is a lot safer and effective than TCM.

7. What type of diseases does Xizhou have to deal with the most?
Other than issues that are not region related such as cancer would probably be mainly hygiene and food safety issues.

8. How do the citizens obtain the medicine? Do they need a prescription or is it "off the shelf"?
Western medicine normally require a prescription, however if TCM has influenced Western medicine, the medicine may be just "off the shelf" and the citizens may get to choose for themselves.

Growth and Future

9. Are more TCM methods still being introduced today?
New methods may still be introduced however a lot of them probably are not accepted due to the amount of TCM techniques already and the fact that Western medicine is slowly being introduced as well.

10. Is Western medicine influencing and changing some of the TCM methods?
Western medicine should have a lot of influence because it brings whole new science aspect behind the effectiveness, safety, and efficiency of medicine. Also, Western medicine probably covers a lot of diseases untreatable using TCM. 

Thank you so much for reading this email. I look forward to your reply if you have the time to. Please do not stress yourself over this!

Sincerely,
Austin Z.

I have not yet heard back from either experts, but I do hope they reply soon!

It's definitely interesting for a person like me to be on this Microcampus experience. As a person who often gets undermined by his peers for not excelling either academically or physically, Microcampus is definitely a huge opportunity for me to see what I really what to try out. It's a chance for me to actually be able to try out what I want, not having to be pushed along the set down path of my peers. Personally, I'm a gamer, enjoys learning, has fun trying new things out. I enjoy music a lot, I've spent almost 8 years on the piano and 4 years on the trumpet by now. I'm definitely one of the critical people who always has the catchphrase of, "Act your own age please..."