Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection

Updated 3 years 2 weeks ago

The inquiry project is one of the big things that we have to complete at Microcampus. We have a list of topics to choose from, and also the ability to make our own if we get permission from Mr. T. This inquiry project let us learn more about our home for 28 days and will help all of us reach out of our comfort zone. To narrow down the choices for inquiry projects, I looked into topics that I would enjoy doing. I know that I am going to be working with this topic for a long time so I want to choose something that would interest me and that I will really want to do. I also looked into some of the constraints for some topics, like my Chinese skills. Knowing my self, I will get very frustrated if I am trying to have a very intellectual conversation with a local but I can not either understand what they are saying, or can not say what I want to respond. I knew I wanted to incorporate photography into my inquiry project because photography is something I love to do. However, photography can not be a topic by its self, so I need to add a main topic to focus on, and use photography as a way to display my work. Although all the topics seemed very intriguing, I narrowed down the list into local education systems, Bai minority clothing, Bai minority dance, local recreation, tie-dye making, and the visitor’s guide. I wanted to look further into these 6 topics because these ones showed the most interest for me and seemed like a very effective way to get to know more about my home for 28 days. 

After further consideration I narrowed the list into my top 3, number one being Bai minority clothing, number two being tie dye making, and number three being local education system

My first topic is Bai minority clothing because fashion and clothing interest me. I find it very interesting to see how people all around the world use fashion to express them self, and the colors of different clothing.

The second topic I chose was tie-dye. I chose this topic because the topic in Xizhou is different than any other tie-dye I have seen before and I would like to learn how its made and how it came to Xizhou.

The final topic I chose was local education systems because i have always loved children and i thought this topic would be a great way to get to know about them. Education is also very important to me and its very interesting to see how this idea differs around the world

After thinking about my inquiry project a little further, I realized I wanted to do something completely different than anyone had ever done before. After thinking about it for a while, I proposed a topic idea to Mr. T: How migration through Xizhou has changed peoples physical appearance. After Mr. T gave me permission to do this topic, I started looking more into how this topic would turn out. For this topic, I would interview lots of people in the village and ask them the following questions. 1) What minority are you and 2) How long have you and/or your family lived in Xizhou. I will then take a photo of the person I interviewed and examine that persons facial features and see if people minorities have anything to do with the way facial features are set up. With this, I can contrast different minorities facial features and see if some ones minority has an effect on the way they look.  This topic will allow me to learn so much about Chinese history, people in the village, and will also let me go outside of my comfort zone.

Since I created my topic my self, I could not look towards other students projects for guidance. However, I looked into 3 different inquiry projects that all had some relation to mine and saw what worked well for them. I first looked into Riko T's Inquiry project, because her's had a photography aspect to it. I really liked the way she presented her information and all of her photos. The way she approached  her inquiry project was also very interesting because she not only took the photos of the food, but also learned a lot about the history of that food and the people making it. The one suggestion she had that really stood out to me was to focus on just a small part of the inquiry project, and then go deeper into that part. This suggestion will really help me ensure that my topic is not getting out of hand and that I wont have enough time to finish all of my ideas. I also looked into Aavia S's  Inquiry project because her topic seemed along the lines of mine. She chose to look into one person in the village  and learn a lot about them. This will be helpful for me because with my topic, I need to be able to do that but with a lot more people. Since her topic was originally based on the Linden center, she encouraged anyone who would be doing her topic in the future to find a closer relation to the Linden center its self. This is maybe something that I would like to think about because that could help me get to know lots more people that  could interview and photograph. I assume that anyone who is very close to the Linden center will be more open with sharing their story with me, which could help me a lot.

In Phase 0, I looked into different inquiry project topics and decided on my final one. I also looked at previous Microcampus students works and got ideas and suggestions from them. In Phase 1, I will research more about my topic, and also start to create questions about the topic that I will be able to find the answer to in Xizhou 


Hey Claire,

Hey Claire,
After reading through your Phase 0 I am extremely intrigued by your inquiry project. I have seen a variety of projects, each of which is unique and have never been done before, but your project takes unique to a whole new level. Although this project may prove to be more difficult than others I highly suggest you continue to stick with it as you begin living in Xizhou as it has the potential for a spectacular final project. I am looking forward to seeing how you pursue this topic in the coming month!
Good Luck,

Hi everyone, my name is Claire. I am part of the Revival Microcampus group. I am originally from the United States, most recently Dallas,Texas, however this is my forth year living in China. My passions include soccer, volleyball, traveling and photography. Microcampus has been the experience of a lifetime. XiZhou is absolutely beautiful and the people are incredibly kind and welcoming. I loved all 28 days I spent in the village and wish there were so many more. Through my time in XiZhou, I learned so much about Chinese culture, my Inquiry Project topic, and myself. Microcampus was remarkable opportunity and I will cherish it forever.