Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources
Back in Phase 1, I wrote what I already knew about the topic, and then I gathered background research. I also wrote ten major questions that I will be asking once I start interviewing people. Now, in this phase, my main task is to find resources and finding people that I can find out more about wood carving, or if it is a person, then i can interview them.
When I was searching for digital sources, I mainly looked for these words: Wood carving, Xizhou, and China. I chose the two words wood carving because it is my topic. I needed to find out about wood carving, not just in Xizhou, but wood carving in general. I wanted to find what it is, how people do it, and oter general things like that. I selected the word Xizhou because that is the place that I will be living, where I will be learning about wood carving, and where I will be finding things out about it. Iooked up China too, because Xizhou is in China, and Chinese wood carvings will be in Xizhou.
I know that the information I researched and learned is valid because I looked at many articles, and they have the same answers or information. Also, I looked at websites where the end of the URL ends in, ".gov, or .edu" or other sites like that. Usuually those sites are reliable sources.
I didn't have too much trouble when I was finding the author of each article. When I read the articles that I used in my background information, there was usually the authors name under the title. One a couple sites, there was an extra page for more detailed information about the article (had the author, time made, etc.). If some sites information came from another site, then I found where the information orginated.
Talking to Experts
Expert 1: Yu Yibo
Yu Yubo is the owner of a museum, and is an expert at wood carver. I got most of my information from him, on his site.
Experts 2 and 3: Yang Li-li and Li-Lun
They are a part of Kunming University of Science and Technology. At their site, I found out about them and got very useful information.
Here is the letter I sent to them:
Dear Mr/Ms. Yu Yibo/Yang Li-li/Li-lun
My name is Brandon. I am an 8th grade student from Shanghai, and attend Shanghai American school. I am currently in the village of Xizhou, Yunnan with 15 other students from my school. This trip is called Microcampus. We will be here in Xizhou studying a specific topic as well as many other tasks for 28 days. If you would like to see my work so far, check out this website: http://www.sasmicrocampus.org/students/about/850 . I would really appreciate it if you could read over my work and answer some questions. Here are 10 questions I have come up with:
1. Why is wood carving special?
2. How is it different than other types of artwork?
3. What is the process of wood carving (step-by-step)?
4. How long do some of the wood carvings take to make?
5. Which wood carvings are the most popular to people, and is it popular?
6. What separates an experienced wood carver from an amateur?
7. How did you learn about wood carving?
8. Where do carvers come up with new ideas, and where do they get the old ones from?
9. What happens if there is a mistake?
10. Why do you enjoy researching or making wood carvings?
Thank you for helping me.
Since I have sent this email on the morning of January 28, I have not received a response yet
Currently I am in Xizhou, and I was instructed to interview 3-5 people, and ask them three questions about finding experts at my topic. These are the three questions:
• Who might help?
• What expertise might they offer?
• Where might I find those experts?
The people I have interviewed are Ms. Mai, Fei, Mr. Wang Wen Gao (guide and driver), Mr. Linden, and Mr. Evans. I chose Ms. Mai, because I knew that she has had a lot of Microcampus students interview her before, and she would know other people that might have helpful information. From Ms. Mai, I went to Mr. Evans for some information. He didn't know much, but he recommended people around here, and some people in the center to interview. I went to Fei from there, and interviewed her. She was giving me useful information about talking to locals, when Mr. Wang came. Mr. Wang is local, and is a proffesional guide, and also is the driver at the Linden Center. He knew a lot of places to go, and was a great help. Finally, I went to Mr. Linden, who told me many places to go. I knew Mr. Linden would help a lot because he lives in Xizhou, and owns the Center. I know that I have enough interviews because I have multiple places to go to, and as I do more and more interviews, the people I interview are recommending the same people and same places (still need to interview Mr. T, will add that soon).
• Mr. Yang, casket maker
• Different Villages, many people there
Books in The Linden Centew Library
I think in the Linden Centre Library, I would try to look for books on wood carving, furniture, or things like that.
In my phase 2, I have got lots of contacts and people I can talk to, and I am really excited to go meet and interview wood carving experts. In Phase 3, I will be writing everything that I have learned, from every person I interview, every book I read, and every website I look at.