Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources
In Phase 1, I have developed questions that would help guide me in Xizhou, as well as a plan for researching. This is Phase 2, where I will be finding out sources that will help me answer my questions.
I had to find information in order to construct Phase 3. One thing I have done that was helpful was using keywords in the search bar, and that helped me narrow down my results. When I visited a digital source, the first thing I did was type in keywords. For background information on the Cultural Revolution and what happened before and after, I used words such as "Chinese Cultural Revolution", "Mao Zedong", "Communism", "KMT". I also searched up "Mao Zedong" and "Chiang Kai-Shek" because they were opposing leaders. I also searched up information on the Korean War using keywords like "Korean War", "War to Resist U.S aggression and Aid North Korea". As my main topic is propaganda, I searched up "Used of propaganda", "Cultural Revolution", "propaganda", "definition of propaganda". I also used the keyword "rural", as Xizhou is a rural village. This is so I could narrow down my topic a little bit more but not taking out all the results. The words I used as keywords were all related to my topic, and there would always be a mention of those words in my paragraphs.
I know that my background information is valid, because I have checked with 3 other sources that state the same things. Most of the sites I used were found through previous Microcampus students and some are from the SAS database. Sometimes it is a little difficult when it is on a website, but it is usually on the About Us page. For the wikipedia sites, I went and looked through the citations. Some were from books and university journals. From some of these sites, I got bits and pieces of information. And sometimes three citations might make up on 1 or 2 sentences. As I went through my research, I checked my information with different sources to know that they are reliable.
I found out about Google Scholar just as I was writing Phase 2, so it is pretty new to me. I am looking to contact some experts on my topic - Government Graffiti and Propaganda Messages in Xizhou - to see what their opinion and feedback is on my project. I reached out to SGM Herbert A. Friedman. When I was researching on my background information, I came across his website and found it very helpful. Below is the email I sent him:
Dear Mr. Friedman,
My name is Annie, and I am an 8th grade student at Shanghai American School. I will soon be heading to Xizhou, Yunnan for a month long school program called Microcampus. One of the focus during our trip there will be to research about a topic related to Xizhou. This is called the Inquiry Project, and the topic I choose was Government Graffiti and Propaganda Messages in Xizhou.
I came across your website as I was doing research on my topic, and used your website as resource for my background information. I was wondering if you could provide some feedback on my work so far so I could improve and be prepared for when I am in Xizhou. I came up with these research questions to help me plan out my research and to stay on track:
1. What do these propaganda messages say?
2. Why were these messages written?
3. When were these propaganda messages written?
4. Were there any other forms of propaganda (or distributed) in Xizhou?
5. Why were these messages put up and where?
6. Were government officials in Xizhou involved with the propaganda? (Were they told to react a certain way? Or speak about it a certain way?
7. Who put up these messages? (Were they government officials or government hired?)
8. Were there any chance when new messages were put up?
9. Were there any vandalism of the propaganda?
10. Why are the propaganda messages not removed?
You can see my other work at: http://www.sasmicrocampus.org/projects/blogs/1756/students
Thank you for taking the time to read this email, and I look forward to a reply if you get the time to.
I have received a reply on September 8th from Mr. Friedman. Unfortunately he could not help me as he just wrote about these messages when he came across them and did not have any special knowledge about any of those actions.
Now that I have arrived in Xizhou, I am ready to do my 3-to-5's. 3-to-5's are interviews that last from 3 to 5 minutes and you interview 3 to 5 people. The people I interviewed are Ms. Mai, as she has been here for some time and notices these messages every time she comes here. Mr. Tafel, because he has been here for 9 months of his life, has knowledge on this area and is very wise. Yeling, because she knows the area well, and Mr and Mrs. Linden.
I would ask them my five people these three questions: Who might help me? What expertise might they offer? Where might I find those people? And if I have more time, I would like to ask them what they might know about my topic.
From these five interviews, I have received many new contacts. They are listed below, as well as who recommended them to me.
- Mr. Duan-a former solider
- Mr Yin-former mayor of the village, guest house owner
- Mr Yang-owner of the Golden Flower
- Mr. Yang-antique owner in SiFangJie
- Mr. Dong
- Every person in this village over the age of 60
- Mr. Zhao-security guard
- Mr. Duan-a former solider
- Mr. Yang-owner of the Golden Flower
- Mr. Zhao-neighbor
- Elders who are at least 50 or 60
- Mr. He
- Mr. Zhao
- Mr. Yang-Linden Centre
- Mr. Yin-former mayor of the village, guest house owner
- -Village head
I have completed my 3-to-5's and I feel that I have enough contacts or sources for me. I know that I will be busy for the next few week and have many places and people to interview and go to. Now I have finished finding all my resources I need on this topic and now I am moving onto Phase 3, where all my information is stored.