Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources
This is my Phase 2 workspace where I will be finding helpful resources that will provide some answers to or help me expand on my ten major questions which I drafted in Phase 1. I will be researching more on my topic and talking to experts and locals to help me further improve my project.
Finding information relating to my topic was rather hard, I had to use various keywords that later helped me find the information I needed. My topic mainly centers around Bai Minority Clothing and Everyday Clothing. The first part was easy, I used keywords such as Bai, Traditional, Chinese, Clothing, Minority Clothing, or when I needed to dive deeper, I used keywords such as Bai Minority Headdress, Headscarf, and Bai Minority tie-dye, batik. This search brought up various links that gave detailed descriptions on the Bai which built the foundation for my background information. However, for the other part of my inquiry project, Everyday Clothing and Style, was much harder. I wanted to look closer into how different factors affected clothing worn, so I searched up using the keywords, personality, clothing, effect, environment...But I only got a few links that gave very vague information. Instead, I decided to rely on other student's inquiry projects and my time in Xizhou.
When I decided if my information was valid or not, I looked at the URL, title, and the author description. Four of my sources were created by Microcampus students, and two were personal interviews of villagers in Xizhou. I figured these three sites were valid to use for my research. Then I looked at my other sources, two of them had the same author, Annie Wu, after I clicked on her homepage I discovered that she does articles on places she has traveled. And the web page was also cited by another Microcampus student. Based on that information, I decided that the information was valid.
For web pages that were not produced by Microcampus alumni, I first looked at the title, specifically the section below the title where the author's name usually is. If the author's name was not printed there, I then looked carefully on the sides of the article or scrolled down to the bottom of the page where the about the author section usually was. However, some articles do not have authors on the web page, in that case, I scrolled to the very bottom, where they usually have a copyright, the name of the company that published the article, or a small link that says About Us. This is how I found the information I needed.
I have now decided to contact two experts, Chen Ping (陈萍) and Annie Wu. Chen Ping is very familiar with the Dali Bai Minority, especially the clothing and with interpretations of clothing patterns on the Bai clothing. Because I can not find Chen Ping's email, I searched up the publishing company (The Journal of Dali University) on a Chinese website, and decided to use the university's email address: email@example.com.
Annie is an information editor for a travel agency and has written countless travel articles. I have used her as a source in my Phase 3 background research and she is also the expert of a previous Microcampus student. Annie's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is the letter I have sent The Journal of Dali University:
My name is Nicole, and I am currently a student at Shanghai American School. This is an international school in Shanghai, and we are doing a project called Microcampus. This is where we will go to Xizhou, Yunan for a month and study more about the Bai Minority. I am doing the topic of Bai Minority Clothing and Everyday Bai Minority Clothing, I was especially interested in an article in your Journal published in January 2010 by Chen Ping. She has some great ideas and her work is amazing, it would be a pleasure to be able to talk to her. I would like to contact her, but I can not find her email address. I would greatly appreciate it if you could give me her contact information or take a look at my Microcampus work so far, to do some reviews or readings.
Here are my ten major questions that I have about the Bai Minority Clothing, and Everyday Clothing:
1. How is the traditional clothing of the Bai designed and made?
2. What is the Bai Batik and how is it made?
3. How is the Bai tie-dye and embroidery important to the Bai minority and their clothing?
4. What do the Bai/Xizhou people wear or how do they style their hair on an everyday basis?
5. Why do they wear these clothes or style their hair in a particular way?
6. How does the everyday fashion/hairstyles in XIzhou differ from what we wear in Shanghai?
7. What factors can affect the clothing you wear/how does personality, upbringing, and environment affect the clothing you wear?
8. How has the tourism affected everyday clothing/traditional clothing?
9. How has the traditional/everyday clothing of the Bai changed over the years?
10. Why has the Bai everyday clothing/traditional clothing changed?
I have sent a similar email to Annie Wu. I have not yet heard from my experts.
Now that we have arrived in Xizhou, we are starting with 3 to 5s. 3 to 5s is when we find 3 to 5 local experts that might help us find possible resources and give us some more information. All my person resources will go into the list below and all information given from my 3 to 5 experts will be in Phase 3. I have chosen Miss Zhang, Zhang Ayi, Mr. T, and Ms. Mai. Mr. T was a mandatory expert, but I chose Miss. Zhang and Zhang Ayi because they are both locals and would have many possible connections that might help me with my project. I chose Ms. Mai because she has brought many students here before and is bound to know a lot about previous student's contacts and locals that might help me with my project.
Zhang Ayi: places and areas that I would probably find possible local resources
- 沙村 (a village rather far from Xizhou)
- 严大大院 (they host dances there)
- 周城 (8 kilometers from here)
- Elderly people around the village
- Ms. Dong (staff at the Golden Flower)
- Older staff at The Golden Flower or Old Town Snacks
- Kitchen Staff at the Linden Centre
- Ms. Yang Jiu Mei (Home: is opposite of Linden Centre)
- Grandma Yang and her sister (their embroidery shop is one door down south from the Linden Centre)
- Mr. He's Family
- Food Market Ladies
- Housekeeping Ladies here and in the Linden Centre
- Movie: The Golden Flowers: 五朵金花
- Clothing Shop Owners
- People in 周城
- Older women around the village, with photo albums of family and wedding photos
- Si Fang Jie's Museum Staff
- Yan Jia Ming Ju (West of Si Fang Jie)
- Photographers of the Bai around the village
- People in the morning markets
- Women and men at least 60 or 70 years old
- Book: Tower of Five Glories
- Work by CP Fitzgerald
- People in Happy Embroidery
- Mr. Zhao's wife
- Grandma Wang
Now that I have finished interviewing four experts, I feel like I have enough contacts for me to investigate and explore further into in the next few weeks. I also would like to look more into the books in the Lincoln Centre. Of course I have the Tower of Five Glories to look further into, but I would also like to look into books related to history and culture of the Bai and the everyday lives of the Bai, if I can not find books directly related to fashion and clothing. I will be moving on to Phase 3 where I will put all the information I have gathered, and continue to research deeper into my topic.