Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources
In Phase 1, I came up with a set of 10 big questions, and now in Phase 2, I will be doing more research to help me understand my topic better.
I started my research in Phase 3, mostly using the internet and some databases. I have learned from experience and teachers that specific keywords were extremely important. Since my topic was Local Legends/Myths/Stories, and I focused mainly on ficus trees, I had many options for keywords. In the beginning, I started with "xizhou legends and myths", but that proved to be ineffective. I took a step back and looked through the inquiry projects done by students in the past, and I remembered that most of the people in Xizhou were from the Bai Minority. Realizing this, I used "bai minority legends and myths" and it proved to be extremely helpful and effective. I then did some more basic research on ficus trees using "ficus trees bai minority". The words I used the most was bai minority, xizhou, legends and myths, and ficus trees.
In order to check the reliability/validity of my sources, I did what most people did-- use multiple sources and compare the results. This proved to be extremely helpful and I will continue to use this technique later on. Many of my resources had their sources down below, so I also checked them to see if it was valid.
In order to deepen my understanding, I decided to search on the internet for possible "experts". After digging around and not having much luck, I decided to go to my sources in Phase 3 and search for the authors/contributors. After looking through my sources, I finally found an expert. His name is Sam Mitchell, and he is a big contributor to the website http://www.ethnic-china.com/, and the website has helped me a lot in my research. He received a PhD in Asian History at the University of Hawaii, worked with the East-West Center, and published many books. However, I could nott find his direct contact information anywhere on the internet. Instead, I sent an email to his website: email@example.com.
Dear Sam Mitchell,
My name is Debbie S. and I am an 8th grade student studying at Shanghai American School. I am currently in a program called Microcampus, where a group of 8th grade students embarks on a trip to Xizhou, Yunnan Province for a month to experience life outside the city. During our stay, we have to choose a topic to specialize in and eventually create a final project. I chose to do the local myths/stories/legends, and I had to research about it. I came across your website, ethic-china.com, and it really helped me. In order to go deeper, we are required to search for an expert. I was wondering if you could take a quick look at my project that I will be continuing in Xizhou, and hopefully give me some tips. Here is the link to my Microcampus project: http://www.sasmicrocampus.org/projects/blogs/8604/students
Thank you so much for your time!