Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources
In Phase 1, I had posed the 10 Big Questions that will be the basis of my research in Xizhou, as I will try and answer them upon arrival. Now in Phase 2, I will be finding helpful resources that will further my understanding on my topic of Body Language, both in Shanghai and Xizhou. I will also be learning to look at the validity of the websites I have and will use throughout my inquiry work.
As I accessed and used digital resources for my background research in Phase 3, I searched with key phrases such as: Body Language Examples, Personal Space, Read Body Language, Emotions through Body Language, Observe People. I chose to use these specific words and phrases because they all related closely back to my topic. Adding on, I wanted to learn how to make observations about body language accurately whilst remaining respectful. This is why in my research, I spent a lot of time reading through what gestures/movement signaled what emotions, so when I make observations in Xizhou, I will be able to read their reactions towards one another and to other objects. To understand how to reach this goal, I looked into how professionals such as therapists or counselors read into one's general body language and the concept of personal space, so that I will be able to do this without making them uncomfortable.
I know my research is valid because one of my main sources, for example, was Thoughtco.com. I believe this site is extremely credible, as all the information on it has been backed up by pervious students who have done similiar projects, my parents, and some teachers. Furthermore, the specific person who wrote the article I used for research, Richard Nordquist, is a professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Armstrong State University. He has also written two books used for college freshmen in language studies, and wrote and researched for the body language article as it is a language. Adding on, the websites reads when the articles were last updated, and all of them have been edited within this past year. I know that he authored the article and who he is because on the website, I was able to click on his name and read into the details of his experience and education. I plan to reach out to him soon, so that he can offer me some advice on my Inquiry Project.
Another person I plan to reach out to is Allan Pease. He is an Australian body language expert who has written over 18 top 10 best selling books and sold over 26 million copies in 54 different languages. He has authored books such as "The Definitive Book of Body Language" , and has spoken in seminars in 70 countries. Him and his wife own a company called Pease International, but remain credible sources as their company teaches communication skills and body language to their clients instead of selling products.
Now, I have begun drafting out an email for the experts I plan to reach out to. Both of these contacts seem to be open to communication, and are both very qualified in terms of experience and education. With their knowledge, I believe they will be great resources for my Inquiry Project, as my topic is about body language. The email read:
Dear Mr. Nordquist and Mr. Pease,
My name is Mia, and I am an eighth grade student in Shanghai American School in China. From April 29th to May 26th, I will be living with 4 other students in a village of the Yunnan Province, XiZhou. During my time there, I will be researching and analyze information around the topic of Body Language there. Whilst I was doing background research on how to distinguish the relations between specific emotions with specific gestures and how different cultures use body language, I found articles and books to which both of you authored. Your article/book(s) were easy to follow and full of information that was helpful for my project. Because of this, I decided to reach out to you both, as I would really appreciate it if you were able to carve out some time for your busy schedules and give me some advice on how to observe and approach them, as well as tips on how to read their posture/gestures/movements accurately.
You can find my project on this link:
A big part of my project surrounds answering 10 big questions that I have drafted out. To clarify, I am not asking you to answer each specific question, as that would be time-consuming and difficult. Instead, I hope that you can give some advice and tips that will point my in the right direction for this project. Below, I have listed out all my questions:
1. Are they aware of what body language is?
2. What are their personal opinions on the use of body language? Do they think it is important?
3. What type of body gestures/movements are the most commonly used to communicate specific emotions? This could include eye movements, hand gestures, etc.
4. How many people do the villagers communicate with through body language on a daily basis, and how?
5. Do they show the meaning of body language through anything besides day to day life? This could include special dances, prayers, etc.
6. How do villagers communicate with other villagers compared to with the tourists? How much space do they put in between themselves and the people around them, based off who the other person is?
7. How do tourists communicate with other tourists compared to with the villagers? How much space do they put in between themselves and the people around them, based off who the other person is?
8. How do the tourists react (body language wise) to the Xizhou lifestyle? This could include reactions to lines, services, etc.
9. How do the traditions in their area affect their natural body language when communicating with others?
10. Besides the current culture, how does their personal history affect their use of body language?
Thank you so much for your time, and I would truly appreciate if you were willing to reply and share some of your knowledge.
I have not heard back from my contacts at this time.