Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources
Now that I have finished my background research and the making of questions in Phase 1, I will now be working on Phase 2. In this section, I will be finding useful contacts that can assist me on my project.
When I was finding resources back in Phase 1, I did not just have the information handed to me. The first thing I had to do was think of key terms that I should use to find helpful and legitimate information. Some terms I used included Xizhou, Xizhou tour guide, Xizhou vacation, things to do in Xizhou and tour guide essentials. Below, I will state my reasons for using these particular keywords.
The reason I searched up Xizhou without any other word after it was because I just wanted some background information on the place. I felt like I could not write I helpful tour guide without even knowing the basics of the location. Also, I also aim to include some background information on Xizhou on the first page of my guide.
Xizhou tour guide:
I searched for Xizhou tour guide because I wanted to see some examples of already available work from experts in that area. Unfortunately, I did not find much since it seems as though Xizhou is still a relatively unknown area to most people.
Xizhou vacation was a term I searched up mostly for opinion-based information. I wanted to read more about people who have already been to Xizhou. I hoped that they would tell me some of the ups and downs of their trip there, and what they did.
Things to do in Xizhou:
I think that this term is pretty self-explanatory. I chose to search up this term to gain a better understanding of the types of activities in Xizhou, and maybe some unique pastimes that can only be done in Xizhou.
Tour guide essentials:
While this has nothing to do with Xizhou, I felt like it was still a pretty important part of my project. I wanted to see what every good tour guide should contain, to make sure I am not missing out on any of it. It has helped me gain a better idea of where my project is going.
As I was searching up these terms, one of the thoughts always prevalent on my mind was whether or not my sources could be trusted. Since nowadays, on the Internet, people from far and wide could edit a lot of information that could lead to websites filled with rumors, lies, and untrue facts. So, the first thing I did when looking at a source was to look at the ending of the website. Some sites I went to ended with .gov, so I knew instantly that I could trust those since they were government run. Since most of my information is opinion based (whether or not they liked Xizhou, the best activities in Xizhou), there was not much false information someone could give since all their opinions are formed based on evidence that the websites stated on their paragraphs. However, I did take extra precaution with facts such as the landmass of Xizhou and information like that. I compared 3 or more websites, and if they were saying the same thing, then that information was likely to be correct. The above steps were how I decided if the information I found was accurate or not.
Another step I needed to do when looking up information was to find out who or what group of people wrote the information. This is important, especially when doing tasks such as sourcing information. Initially, I scrolled down to the end of the website. Most of the time, they have their copyrights there. On the copyrights, I could usually find out the name of the writer from the copyright. Also, there is always the possibility that the authors name is mentioned right on top of the article, or mentioned in the first few lines of an article. If I could not find it in those 2 places, I would go on a automatic citation website. More often than not, they would manage to find the authors name and include it in the citation. This was how I found out who wrote the article online that I was reading.
Now, we are required to email experts in the area of Xizhou tourism.
My first contact is the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration. Their contact information is email@example.com. The first reason why I chose this contact was because it is listed as the creator of the article on a website that ends with .gov. This means that all the information must be true, as the government runs it. Also, they are part of the government, so they should have a lot of knowledge about Xizhou.
Dear Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration,
Hello, my name is Evian and I am currently an 8th grader attending Shanghai American School. A group of students and I are going to leave on a month long trip to Xizhou to learn there. While we are there, we will be focusing on topics of interest to us. For me, that would be developing a tourist guide for Xizhou. I have looked around the web and have found your website very useful. One of our steps is to think of 10 questions that will be the fuel to our project. Although I know that you are very busy, I would be very thankful if you had the time to look at my project so far at http://www.sasmicrocampus.org/projects/blogs/1760/students . The ten questions that I have thought up of so far are as follows:
1. How do the locals behave towards tourists?
2. How does the locals' attitude and opinions toward their village and the places to visit in it differ from those of the tourists?
3. What do the locals' recommended tourists do to make the most of their vacation or visit there?
4. Are there any special festival days that should be taken noted of so they can be included in the daily schedule?
5. Out of all the activities to do in Xizhou, which ones are not to be missed?
6. Are there any places tourists should avoid going to in Xizhou?
7. What are some unique aspects of Bai culture that tourists should take note of?
8.Should there be anything I should inform tourists from outside of China to prevent culture shock?
9. What attracts people to Xizhou?
10. What repels people from going to Xizhou?
If you had the time to, could you please take a look at my project and provide me with some tips on how to answer my questions? Thank you for your help.
I have not heard back from Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration as of this time.
After arriving in Xizhou, I did something called a 3 to 5 interview. Basically, it is just as the name suggests it to be. We were to interview 3-5 people for 3-5 minutes. The purpose of these interviews were so that people familiar with Xizhou would be able to provide us with some helpful local contacts that would provide us with more information about our topic. The people I chose to interview were Mr. Tafel, Yeling, and Mrs. Mai. I interviewed Mr. Tafel and Mrs. Mai because they have been on this trip a great many times, so I figured that they would have sufficient information. Yeling was interviewed because she lived here, so she would know a lot about the local people here, especially people who would be of help to me. Below, I am listing the possible contacts that my interviewees have provided me.
Mr Tafel's Possible Contacts:
- Tourists passing through town (found in sifangjie, road leading to mountains/Xizhou Ancient Town from SFJ)
- Mr Yang the horse cart driver (take a ride around town, listen to him and ask him about what tourists like to do)
- Travel curators (at Linden Center)
- Local/university students (found in restaurants, good to go during October holiday and weekends)
- Mr Linden (Linden Center)
- Guests at the Linden Center (ask what they enjoy etc.)
Mrs. Mai's Possible Contacts:
- Mr. Yang the owner of the Golden Flower (in SFJ)
- Owner of the coffee shop (in SFJ)
- Staff at Linden Center (Yeling, curators etc.)
- Mr Zhao, the music performer at Linden Center (phone him)
- Mr Chao, tour guide of the Yan compound (the museum, ask for him at the front desk)
- Mr/Mrs Linden
- Mrs. Li (owner of Happy Embroidery)
Yeling's Possible Contacts:
- Linden Center Curators (ask for Han, Lijie, Zhaowei)
- Locals in SFJ
- Mr Yang the Golden Flower
- Tourists in the museum
After asking these three people about whom to contact, I decided that this would be enough to keep me going. The reason for this is because other than having around 10 solid people who I could contact, I also had a pretty large amount of uncertain interviewees such as tourists at Sifang Jie, and guests at the Linden Centre. With all of these sources combined, and with the possibility of discovering new sources through them, I feel as though I will have plenty of material to build upon in the following weeks.
The Linden Centre provides a plentiful selection of books in their library. Out of all of them, the books that are the most helpful to be would be tour guides written by professionals. Reading more of these will help me gain insight on the tone and style I should use in my own guide. If tour books are not available, I would probably opt for books about tourism in Xizhou or Yunnan, since that must contain some information about what people enjoy or do not enjoy in Xizhou.
Now I am done with Phase 2, where I found useful contacts. I will now be moving on to Phase 3, which is a very important phase. It is the phase where I will be actually going out into the village to interact with the locals. Everything that I have done until now has been in preparation for this particular phase, which will involve a lot of work, but lots of interesting results. I will store the information I gather in Phase 3, so follow me on my journey there.