Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources

Updated 7 years 1 month ago

Now that I have narrowed down my topic, I need to find helpful resources to gather for my project. The sources that I could use are: The internet (namely Google), books, and people (students and teachers). I believe that this topic is a more on-site topic, so I do not think I will find much on the internet, but I will try to find as much as possible. However since google contains such a large database, I need to come up with some key words to search by.

Here are some I came up with:

1) Schools Xizhou 
2) Linden Center Website 
3) Average Class Size Schools China
4) Cultural Revolution: Schooling

Some other resources I could use are

1) Students and teachers at the school
2) (If Possible) A day at a school
3) People who might remember their school days back, say, 70 years ago.

Overall, there are not many resources I can think about that will help me with the project, so I need to be able to find out about as much as possible using what I have. Apparently Yangzhouran is a school, so I think that there will be resources there as well. 

Next step... How will I know the resources are valid? On the internet, it is really easy to get unsatisfactory information... possibly even invalid info. That is why I need to be able to cite my sources. People and "field work" will be easy to cite because I know that these people are experts at their life. On the internet, I need to have a full citation using easybib or something else. I need the publisher, date last modified, Date Created, and I need to find more than one source that has similar information. The way I can find out who is publishing this information is 1) by the URL... whether it says .org .net .com or .gov... and 2) Is there a Contact information tab at the top.  

In order to gather more information, I will need to have some sources. I have found  several people who look promising to me. The first of these people is Prof. Ka-Ho Mok. Prof. Mok has “published extensively in the fields of comparative education policy, comparative development and policy studies, and social development in contemporary China and East Asia”. Some of his works include . He can be reached at the address My second contact is Prof. Donald J. Treiman. He worked together with Dr. Zheng Dong  in order to write Trends in Educational Attainment in the People's Republic of China, a part of the American Journal of Sociology. I think that these people may be able to help me because they worked together to write a book (mostly) about my topic. I will be able to Dr. Treiman at My third expert is Professor Robert Gregory of the Australian National University. He wrote a book called The Impact of Interrupted Education on Subsequent Educational Attainment: A Cost of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. I think that one of the major events that I am looking at is how the cultural revolution affected the educational system here. I think that Professor Gregory may be another source of relevant information for me. I can reach Prof. Gregory at

Below is an example of a letter I will write to my experts when I have found all three


Dear Prof.____, 

I am a student studying in Xizhou village near Dali. I am researching the Local education systems and how they have changed over the last 50 years. When I was looking for resources for my inquiry topic, I came across your name and have realized that you are quite knowledgeable about this topic. I hope you can look at my project, which you can find at and welcome any comments you have to offer.

 The main questions for my research project are as follows:

1) If they did not go to school, how did people in Xizhou learn the skills they needed to survive?

2) What courses are/were "most important" at these schools 50 years ago? 40 years ago? 30 years ago? 20 years ago? 10 years ago? Now?

3) How long do/did the students go to school a week 50 years ago? 40 years ago? 30 years ago? 20 years ago? 10 years ago? Now?

4) How does the schooling system impact local life?

5) How many schools are/were in Xizhou village 50 years ago? 40 years ago? 30 years ago? 20 years ago? 10 years ago? Now?

6) Where do the teachers come from 50 years ago? 40 years ago? 30 years ago? 20 years ago? 10 years ago? Now?

7) Where do/did the schools get the money to function 50 years ago? 40 years ago? 30 years ago? 20 years ago? 10 years ago? Now?

8) What is/was the teacher to student ratio 50 years ago? 40 years ago? 30 years ago? 20 years ago? 10 years ago? Now?

9) How did the Cultural Revolution affect schooling systems in China? Have they bounced back? How?

10) What quality of education (up to what grade) do/did the students receive 50 years ago? 40 years ago? 30 years ago? 20 years ago? 10 years ago? Now?

11) What second language did they teach at these schools 50 years ago? 40 years ago? 30 years ago? 20 years ago? 10 years ago? Now?

Thank you for your time and I hope you can be of some help to my research.

Sincerely Aidan ___.

Shanghai American School, Microcampus Project 2013


Now that I am actually in Xizhou, I can continue even farther along with my work. The first step that I must take is to find 3 to 5 people who might know people who have relevence to my topic and have a 3 to 5 minute discussion about my project. Ironically, these interviews are called my 3-5's. 

My first 3-5 source is Mrs. Yang, a teacher at a local elementary school. She was a really helpful source, providing us with a lot of information, which you can look at HERE, in plase three; However, she also told us that there were 13 primary schools in Xizhou, 2 Middle schools, and finally, 1 high school that belongs to Dali city. I was really surprised by this fact, because I kind of underestimated the size of this village. I must find out from other sources where these schools are.

My second 3-5 was with Xiao Tang. Xiao Tang is the manager of Yangzhouran (where we are staying) and she also told me quite a bit of information. She told me that a member of the staff here at YZR had a father-in-law who was the principal of the high school here. She also told me that the university close by Dali town has a really good reputation. She also told me a story about a girl who was kicked out of the university because she was "slacking" in class. (I do not really know what significance this tale has, but I hear it a lot).

The third meeting I had was with Mr. Tafel. I asked Mr. T. about who might remember their education from 50 years back, and he gave me some people I might find helpful. The first person is a 94 year old lawyer who lives two corridors down from YZR. The second person would be Mr. Dong, who just celebrated his 87th birthday. The third source would be really easy to get to because I see him mostly every day: Mr. Yang at the Golden Flower restaurant. He is about 55 years old. The fourth person I might be able to interview is Mr. Duan. Mr. Duan is a former soldier who now works in the government. I can find him in Chengdong area of Xizhou. Another source I can use is Mr. Zhao, the security guard here at YZR. Mr. Tafel also reccomended that I take a look at The Tower of Five Glories to find something about my topic there. I could also interview the kitchen staff to find some of my answers. 


Hi. My name is Aidan and I am currently 14 years old. I was born in Toronto, Canada, but lived in Singapore, New Jersey, and Shanghai. While I was in Xizhou, I researched how the local education system has changed over the course of the last 63 years. Since the community had a really helpful air, I felt that Xizhou and it's people had a lot to offer for my project. I am now back home in Shanghai, and an alumni of Microcampus. This experience has taught me a lot. Click on any of the links below to see what I did in Yunnan.