Phase 1: Posing Real Questions
After finishing Phase 0, where I decided on my topic, I will now be working on Phase 1. I have chosen to do a visitors guide about Xizhou. Phase 1 is where I will build a foundation for my project, including researching some more about my topic, and asking questions that will guide my research in Xizhou along.
My inquiry project aims to help people achieve a perfect holiday by giving day by day instructions on what to see and do. Visitor guides come in many different forms, such as web articles, booklets, and magazines. Right now, I am fairly certain that my guide will be in the form of a web article so that it is easily accessible for everyone who is interested. Often times, when tourists come visit a destination, they do not like to explore past their comfort zone, opting to go to famous attractions and big food chains in favor of smaller, local places. Guidebooks and websites talk about those famous attractions while also trying to highlight noteworthy places to go to that are not as famous with the tourists, but loved by the locals. They can also give tips for travelers, such as the difference between the culture in their home country and the country they are visiting.
My family travels a lot, to a diverse selection of destinations. When we do, we usually plan our trip based on guidebooks, so I have a basic understanding of their structure and format. I have also looked at examples of the "Three Perfect Days" article section that I will be basing my project off on. Another example I have looked at is Ivy's food guide on Xizhou from a previous Microcampus trip. I learned from her project that making a website would be a good way to organize and share your final project.
From this project, I hope to discover the many different sides of Xizhou. My main goal would be to find places to visit that would be interesting to both the young and the old. I want to find out how the locals spend their daily life, and hopefully incorporate that into my guide so that the tourists can experience what its like truly living in Xizhou. I also want to find out about Xizhou's history, so that tourists will know something about the village before actually traveling there. Something I am really interested in is the local people's opinion on each spot that I will be covering in my guide. Hopefully, I will be able to get a varied response to each spot, which would be interesting.
After finishing some background research in Phase 3, I now have a foundation of knowledge ready for me to build upon, which will let me make my 10 questions.
Now, I am thinking of 10 questions related to my topic after finishing my background research. These 10 questions will act as a sort of engine or motivation behind my work later on, so they are important. The words in italics below are some possible answers to my questions. This means that I am trying to answer the questions, without doing any more research just yet. Do not worry though, I will be finding out the answers to these questions shortly.
The questions below are about the locals and their thoughts.
1. How do the locals behave towards tourists?
Although I do not know this for sure, I think the locals are fairly welcoming to the tourists. Will I do not know for sure as I have yet to go there, it seems from the pictures from previous trips that the locals are welcoming people who are full of smiles.
2. How does the locals' attitude and opinions toward their village and the places to visit in it differ from those of the tourists?
For one, I think that the locals may not view the tourist attractions as marvels. For example, when I go to Malaysia, I do not view Penang Hill as something wondrous. It is simply a mountain, and I see the shadow of it every day I am in Malaysia. However, the tourists that visit the mountain marvel at the mountain and try to take as many pictures as possible. Also, the locals may know more about the place than the tourists do.
3. What do the locals' recommended tourists do to make the most of their vacation or visit there?
I think that they will recommend their own personal favorite spots to hang out in or to relax in, and tell the visitors about it. Also, it would be interesting if the elderly people knew some background information about the location, or if they have some memories concerning that particular location.
The questions below are about activities to do in Xizhou.
4. Are there any special festival days that should be taken noted of so they can be included in the daily schedule?
Although I do not think this would affect my guide that much, it would still be interesting to know. It would not affect my guide that much because my guide is about a general 3 days in Xizhou, so special festivals are not taken into account. I think that the locals celebrate some traditional Chinese festivals like Chinese New Year, as well as festivals exclusive to the Bai people.
5. Out of all the activities to do in Xizhou, which ones are not to be missed?
From what I have seen so far, Lake Erhai seems like a must see location. There are many activities you can do there, like hiking, watching the fishermen, or simply relaxing. Another place of interest would be the numerous farms in Xizhou, especially to those interested in agriculture.
6. Are there any places tourists should avoid going to in Xizhou?
I think that in Xizhou, there will be shadier parts of the village that tourists should avoid, much like any other country. However, since Xizhou is relatively small, tourists should be safe most of the time, and will not be affected by the other parts of town.
7. What are some unique aspects of Bai culture that tourists should take note of?
Firstly, I think tourists would appreciate the Bai people's form of basket weaving, tie-dye, and art style. Also, I have discovered from my background research that the Bai architecture is very special and reflects on the older Chinese courtyard styled homes. It would also be nice for visitors to see some musical performances of any scale and learn a bit more about the Bai culture there.
Question number 8 below is a bit of an outlier compared to the rest of my question categories, but I feel like it is an interesting question, and would be useful to foreigners.
8.Should there be anything I should inform tourists from outside of China to prevent culture shock?
For example, many Westerners may not be used to having to carry around paper for the restroom by themselves, since most other countries provide them in the restrooms. Also, a lot of Chinese people are very used to sights such as spit on the ground, people peeing in the bushes and quirks like that found in China. However, many foreigners find this very surprising, so it would be better to inform them of this beforehand.
The following questions are about what attracts and repels tourists from Xizhou.
9. What attracts people to Xizhou?
I think out of all the reasons to go to Xizhou, nature would be the biggest reason. Most of the people wanting to go to Xizhou come from large, bustling cities that sometimes move too fast for them. Also, they may want to get away from all the pollution and noise of a city, and escape to a quiet, simple village surrounded by nature. Here in Xizhou, there are trees and life everywhere you look, unlike cities, which are filled with automobiles, skyscrapers and factories.
10. What repels people from going to Xizhou?
I think the main reason people do not come to Xizhou is that they have never even heard of it before. If you ask a non-Chinese where to go in China, they will most likely reply with the names of big cities like Shanghai or Beijing. Xizhou is under the tourist radar right now, and not much people know about it. If you look at some parts of Thailand for example, those small strips of hidden beaches are now inhabited by humans from everywhere looking for the supposed perfect summer getaway. I think Xizhou will become something like that if it gains popularity.
Before I go to Xizhou, I should learn about some more attractions in Xizhou, and some people I can contact to help me with my work.
Now that I have thought up my ten questions, I will now be finding some useful contacts in Phase 2.
If any of you are wondering what the answer is for the 10 questions above, go to Phase 3 to check them out! Also, I have added some new questions of interest, so go check those out as well.