Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection
This is the start of a process leading to the start of my inquiry project. I will be spending 28 days in XiZhou in March to connect with the locals to talk and learn about the legends behind foods. It was a very long list of inquiry projects that all seemed interesting but I slowly began to think more about each project and came down to three that I think can go really deep in the information I get and has my highest interests. To choose my final project, I got some feedback and with some thought, I choose to combine my first two choices.
To narrow down the list, I looked at the inquiry project list and highlighted which ones I was interested in. Then I looked at the ones I highlighted and selected the ones that I feel that I could expand and dig deep into.
At last, I came to the three topics that interested me- Local Food Products/Cuisine, Local Spirits/Legends/Stories, and Local Recreation/Hobbies.
I have made my final decision on the inquiry project I want to do in XiZhou. I decided to combine my first and second choice. I am doing the legends and stories behind the food at XiZhou. I was very interested in both so I have decided combining them will let me learn a bit of both. Cooking and food have been a big interest in my life just like legends and stories. Now I will also get to talk and connect with a larger variety of the people at XiZhou. I can learn their food and how to cook at the same time I learn about where these foods have come from. I infer that there will be many different legends on one type of food.
I am most interested in Local Food Products/ Cuisine because of how many different types and styles of food there are, how much it shows about XiZhou's culture and how important it is in our everyday life. It is important to me since I have always loved to cook and bake. I have taught myself how to cook with a bit of help from our ayi. I've always had a huge interest in cooking and food. In the village, I anticipate that there will be plenty of different styles of restaurants there that can teach me plenty information about their food and cuisine. During the month there, I hope to learn from the owners, chefs and the waiters on techniques they use to cook their food and how it is different from ours. Also how much it affects their daily life and economy as a whole.
I am interested in Local Spirits/ Legends/ Stories because I have always loved a good story or legend whether it is from my family or from the sites I see. It shows what the people in XiZhou believe in, their culture and their history. I love stories and legends. When I was young, my family has told me many stories and legends about China. When I grew older, I started to read legends and stories. I have also listened to many interesting legends told by tour guides. At the village, I can talk to people on the streets and ask them about their legends and stories. I will talk to adults, elders, and children to see the different perspectives on these legends and stories.
I have discarded one topic which was Local Recreation/ Hobbies. It was my third choice out of all three I have here and it did not catch my attention as much as the other two. Combining the first two has made two of my interests become one project and this one does not stand out as much for me.
I looked at finished projects from the Microcampus alumni. No one has combined the ideas of food/cuisine and legends/stories. Therefore I just looked at Microcampus alumni that did one of those topics. Mallory B. from the Phenomena group and Miranda Y. from the Cookie Monsters group who did projects on food said that we should be flexible about my project and project idea and to keep looking. Mallory said that things will change when we arrive there and our project may not go as planned. I should always adapt to whatever happens there even though it is going to be challenging. Both Mallory and Miranda thought that research was the most difficult part and so Miranda suggested that we should never give up and keep looking in the village and online. Jie Ling T. from the Nutty Narwhals group did her inquiry project on Local Spirits/Legends/Stories. She suggested that I should be open and make a lot of connections with people there. It is crucial to finding information and I should do it when we get there so that everything will not be rushed.
In Phase 0, I worked on narrowing down my list of inquiry projects I want to do and choosing a final project. In Phase 1, I will dig deeper into my inquiry project, posing my research questions that will guide me through the research process.