Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources
As I look back all the way to Phase 1 when I was researching about my topic, I looked at many links, websites and so on. I did not always know if the websites were telling the truth or not. I would sometimes check with my mom if this was telling the right information. If she could not tell me if this information was valid or not, I would dig a little deeper and find out more information. Usually I found out who was responsible for posting this page by scrolling all the way to the bottom at the page. There would say their names and how they found out the information. When there was no name saying who published this page, I did not know what to do. I realized that there were additional links in the middle of the page. Those links would sometimes tell me who made these pages.
As I was researching about my topic I found many sites. The one that struck me the most was the Agricultural University of Yunnan. The University of Yunnan focuses on many topics about farming. Some might be, the economics of farming, the growth of crops, and so on. At first I could not find much information about the university. Then I finally found their contact information. My second resource that I found was a professor that is called Professor Wein. He specializes in Vegetable growth. I looked at him more because he has to do with farming. He has a graduate in Horticulture. (The study of Garden Cultivation) Below is a sample of onw of the emails that I sent to them.
Dear Agricultural University of Yunnan,
My name is Matthew. At the moment, I am living in Shanghai, China. I have traveled to Yunnan to learn more about farming. I will be studying farming here for a month and am hoping to get some information that might help me understand more about farming in general. A lot of the questions that I have have to do with the land owners and the actual workers in general. if you can answer these question it would be great. If you can not, can you maybe give me more experts that can help me on my topic? (I have around ten questions, just for the heads up) Some questions that I have are:
1. How long do the farmers have to work a day?
2. How much do the workers get paid?
3. Who does the land owner sell their crops too?
4. What are some of the ages of the farmers that work in the field?
5. If one farmer gets sick, does a family member take his spot until he is not sick?
6. If the crops turn out to be dead, how will the land owner react?
7. How often do the farmers get sick?
8. Are their any native foods that have to do with XiZhou?
9. Do the farmers rotate the crops depending on the season?
10. If the farmers do not give the fields a break from all the crops, and the field is ruined, do they have to find another job?
If you want to have a look at some of the work I am doing, please go to this website: http://sasmicrocampus.org/students/dashboard/563/page-2
So far I have no emails from the two resources so I am hoping to get an email back.
After I arrived in the village, I started my 3-5's. 3-5's are when the chaperones and I get together one by one and talk about my inquiry topic for 3-5 min. The point of 3-5's is to get a lot of contact information. This way I can get out into the village and learn more about my topic. As Mr. T said, you can do your 3-5's until I am full. This pretty much means I can do only three people and I can have all of the information that you need!
When I was talking to Mr. T, he told me that I should get to know as many farmers as I can. It could help me in the future. He also said that I should make connection to people that are over 60 years old. This way they can tell me their wisdom on the basics of farming or they might possibly tell me more people that are still farming or have farmed in their lives.
When I was talking to Fei, she mentioned a lot of resources about farming. The one that struck me the most was a person named Yan. She says that Yan has been farming for many years and can teach me a lot about farming. I asked Fei if she could teach about the basics of farming. Fei said she could easily teach me about the basics of farming. At the end of the conversation, Fei said that if I need any more information, I could ask her to contact Yan.
Later on I did one of my 3-5's at the Linden Centre with Craig. As we were talking he would wright down questions that I would ask. Towards the end of the conversation he said that he would find out the answers the to the questions. In all, he gave me a lot of contact information, but he did not give a lot of facts. The contact information that he gave was the same as Fei, but he also said that he would try to find other people that would help with my topic.
The last person that I did my 3-5's with was XiaoTang . She was the exact opposite of Craig, she gave me little contact information but some background information. This is exactly what I needed, because I was only getting contact information. I have put all of the background information into Phase 3.
When I go to the Linden Centre I plan to find books/titles along the lines as: The Economics Of Farming, Farming in XiZhou, How to Farm In XiZhou. If there are no books that would help me in the Linden Centre library, then I will come here to find books. If everything fails, I will look for books online.
After I have found my helpful resources in Phase 2, I can move onto Phase 3 were I can start interpeting information. I can't wait to go out into the village and learn new interesting things about my topic!