Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources

Updated 1 year 4 weeks ago


In Phase 1, I started doing a little bit of research on my topic. I also created ten big questions that I will be using to guide my Inquiry Project work. In Phase 2, I will be trying to find some helpful resources.

Firstly, what were the keywords that I used to get my background information? The most crucial words that I used were: people, cacti, benefits, business, and 101. This is because firstly, I wanted to study and find out the essentials/basics of creating, and maintaining a business. Then, after finding and understanding the basics of businesses, I had to move onto researching about plants (cacti mainly). I used the word cacti for obvious reasons. However, the words two words, people, and benefits, are the bridge for my project. This is because when starting a business, I need to have a product that "benefits" my buyers, which is "people." 

The information that I found is credible, and there is one reason why it is credible: They have similar content. Even though I used the infamous site known as Wikipedia (for being able to edit it at will), I know that I can trust the content on the page about cacti, and that is because I found that information on other sites as well. Another tactic that I used was spell checking. Also, as I was reading through the information, I was making sure that grammar was good and spelling was right. If there were any mistakes, I would have closed that site.

During my research, another tactic that I used to decided if I should trust the website was identifying the author. Normally, the author would be shown on the page along with his/her work. But if the writer is not present on the site, I would usually look for an "About Me" or "About Us" page.

During my research, I tried to contact an expert on starting a business, and his name is Dr. Michael Mamas. Dr. Michael Mamas is a writer, spiritual scholar, lecturer, and founder of the Sri Somesvara Temple. Dr. Mamas has written an article on a website called, and the article is titled 6 Keys to Develop a Successful Small Business, and that correlates with the business end of my project. After contacting him, I am hoping to get some extremely valuable information. This is the email that I sent to him. 

Dear CRS,

If it is not too much trouble, may I request that you pass this message on to Dr. Michael Mamas? During my time researching about small businesses and how to start them, I found an article that you created on In it, you talked about the key things need to start a business, and I am doing a school project where a portion of it is starting a business. If it doesn't take too much time out of your day, would you mind having a look at it at, and giving some suggestions? If so, that would be greatly appreciated.


1) How do plant companies begin?
2) How do the people who live in the village create a business?
3) Are there any companies that already sell plants, and if so, what type of plants?
4) If there are smaller businesses and large businesses, how do they manage to keep the attention of their buyers?
5) What inspired them to work in the business world?
6) Would they want their children to live the parent's kind of lifestyle, and if so, why?

These are the questions for the business portion of my project. Please do not answer them for me, rather, I'm requesting that you simply give me background knowledge or advice on the topic from your own experience.


Thanks and best regards,

Jason Ma

Shanghai American School - Microcampus Project 2017


Sadly, my source could not answer, and that is because they were not able to find any members of their staff to help.


After looking for help from professionals via email, I decided to ask some of the people in Yangzhuoran for some advice on the topic. I wanted to see whether or not they could provide some information, and who they would recommend I talk to for further details. This process is called 3-5's, and in it, we talk for three to five minutes, with three to five instructors. The first instructor I talked to was Ms. Zhao, and she is a support advisor for us. 


Ms. Zhao:

  • Talk to Ms. Yan (Gardener) she visits every 3-4 days and works at the Linden Center and lives not far from there.
  • Mr. Du, who is an antique vendor, but owns a garden out back
  • No major businesses that sell plants because of how accessible the plants are

After talking with Ms. Zhao, I got some basic information and some contact information, however, it was not enough. To solve that problem, I decided to talk to Ms. Mai for more details, and I am glad I did because she supplied me a plethora of contacts and information that built upon Ms. Zhao's information.


Ms. Mai:

  • Visit the Wet Market, the left side right next to the entrance and further down on the right side.
  • Sifangjie right before the entrance.
  • Mr. Mao (east of Sifangjie)
  • Shaping Market as a last resort (20 minutes drive from Yangzhuoran)
  • Ms. Yan

After talking with Ms. Mai, I had enough information. However, I thought that I should try and talk to someone else to make sure that the contact information is reliable (and also because I need at least three instructors). So, I decided to try and talk with Mr. Tafel, and luckily, I was able to, and he provided me with plenty of good information.


Mr. Tafel:

  • Talk with the housekeeping people, and security guards to see if I can find any decent information
  • There are cacti at the foot of the mountain and maybe growing on old houses
  • Talk to Mr. He about his childhood, because he had to trek for hours to collect firewood (may provide some decent info)
  • Mr. Wang (basket weaver), lives 10 minutes downhill (bike ride) past Ficus Tree.
  • Guest House ~50m down Linden Center (Ms. Yang's family)
  • Ms. Yan
  • Mr. Mao

Ms. Linden:

  • Camelia (chahua 茶花, used for aesthetics) already bloomed 
  • Orchids (very rare) (ask the security guards for more info, or other in-house locals)
  • Yang Family (raises camellias and other plants) (at the Guest House)
  • Morning Market people sell seeds (next to people who sell noodles) Go around 11-12

After having 3-5's with these four instructors, I think that I am on the borderline of having enough information. This is because, in order for me to know that I am full and have enough information from my 3-5's, I will need to have enough information that will keep me busy throughout the upcoming weeks. Currently, I have plenty of contacts, however, a little bit more would ensure that I am full. My next step is to look for some more information, and what I plan to do is to go through the books in the library of the Linden Center. Some books that I could look at include; Wildlife in Yunnan, Flowers in Yunnan China, The Tao of Business, and/or Three Billion New Capitalists.


Now that I have my hands on some potential sources, I have officially completed Phase 2 of the Inquiry Project. Now it is time for me to gather information that I need for me to continue my project. Follow me over to Phase 3 to continue my journey.


My name is Jason M. and I am from Carmel, Indiana. I am currently attending SAS Pudong and I am almost at the end of eighth grade. The experience that I got from the journey to Xizohu was probably one of the best that I have had. I am really proud that I attended Microcampus, and that is because I learned a lot of not only myself but Xizhou as well. The trip to Xizhou yielded several different small experiences that added up to one huge journey. Hopefully, I can pay another visit to Xizhou sometime.