Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources
In order to begin my research, I must have resources where I can gather reliable information. There are a few people in the Linden Center who might be able to help me find these resources. My first option is Li Ping, who has a general knowledge of Xizhou and knows what places are best for learning and Textiles. Another option might be Jeanee Linden, who works with designing clothing, and also has some knowledge about textiles in Xizhou. I can interview them and record our conversation for future reference.
If I wanted to find out more about the textiles of Xizhou via the internet, there is some key vocabulary that might help narrow my search. First of all, the textiles I am researching aren't specific to Xizhou. They are actually textiles of the Bai minority, so using "Bai" as a key word will help. I also know that the Bai minority textiles include batik, and other techniques. I am focusing on tie dye, so including "tie dye" instead of "textiles" would be better. What I'm really interested in is the whole process, and not the selling of the tie dye, so my overall search would probably be something like "the Bai minority tie dye process".
There are also other ways of gathering information such as books. The Linden Center has a variety of books about Yunnan and Xizhou. Because textiles are used as pieces of clothing, a useful way to find the right book might be to find one about the visual culture of the Bai minority. Textiles are also used as blankets, baby-carriers, etc. Finding a book that describes any of these topics would assist me in learning about Bai tie dyed fabrics.
There is always the question of whether or not the information I have is true. If I ask someone a question, or someone tells me something, I might want to do a small check with other sources to see if the information is the same throughout. Usually, if the person is a local and has plenty of experience, they know what they are talking about. If the information originates from university studies or an educational program, it is most likely reliable. If there isn't background information about where the content comes from, there is a chance that it is false, and therefore shouldn't be used.
In order to ensure that the information is valid, I need to know where it came from. For the internet and information from books, I can check the source of the information or do a little search on the author. If I ask someone who has experience with making textiles, I could do a small check with others who work with them. This way, if the information is consistent throughout, I can be sure it's authentic.
The information I read and hear about has to be submitted by someone, and who that person is is important. If I know who wrote or talked, I know if they're a random person off the street or a university professor. Books are easy because they almost always have the author's name on the cover. If the information is from a webpage, the website usually has an "about" link to a page that tells you a little about who edited the site.