Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources

Updated 6 years 6 months ago

In Phase 1: Posing Real Questions, I did some background information research for my Inquiry Project that I will be working on for four weeks in Xizhou. I used this background information to create 10 big questions about my topic "Tourism and Development". Now in Phase 2, I will learn how to find helpful resources to help me answer my ten questions.

One thing I have already done to help me find helpful resources was using keywords in the search bar to show me what I needed to know for my background research. When I accessed a digital source, the first thing I did was do keyword search, usually for "tourism", "development", "Dali", or "change". I picked these words because I they were all related to my topic and almost every sentence that had these words were of use to me.

I know that that my background information is valid when I find at least three different sources that state the same claim, or source is from a website that I know and trust to be reliable. I have also looked at primary sources, like books written by authors who have directly witnessed change in Dali. It was easy to find the publisher/producer for books, but on other websites it is a little trickier. Most of the time, though, this information is located at the bottom of the website or in the "About" page. 

I discovered Google Scholar just before I began researching for background information on tourism and development in Dali, and found that it was very helpful in finding research files and other helpful things written by experts. I am looking to contact some of these experts through email to see what their feedback is on my project so far. Here is an example of a letter I wrote to three experts: Beth E. Notar (author of Displacing Desire: Travel in Popular Culture in China), Julie Wen, and Clement A. Tisdell (authors of Tourism and China's Development: Policies, Regional Economic Growth, and Ecotourism).

Dear [expert],

My name is Rena, and I am an eighth grade student from Shanghai American School. In about a week from now, I will be going on a selective school trip with fifteen other students to Xizhou, Yunnan on a very special month-long program called Microcampus. One of the main focuses during our trip there will be to research on a topic related to Xizhou. This is called the Inquiry Project, and my topic is Tourism and Development in Dali.

As I have used your book (Displacing Desire: Travel in Popular Culture in China/Tourism and China's Development: Policies, Regional Economic Growth, and Ecotourism) as a resource for my background information, I know that you must be an expert on this topic. I was wondering if you could maybe provide some feedback on my work so far so I will be 100% prepared for when I arrive in Xizhou. I have come up with these 10 big research questions to help me stay on track in Xizhou:

1. How has Dali physically changed? (ie. building structures, environment, etc.)

2. How has Dali changed in terms of community, economics, and other "non-visible" components?

3. What do the different people of the village think of the changing? (ie. young townspeople, old townspeople, village officials, tourists, etc.)

4. Who is the most and least affected by the tourism and developments of Dali?

5. Will other small places around Dali also become populated with tourists over time?

6. Can development occur from tourism without changing the place?

7. Who controls the process of tourism development and how?

8. What would Dali be like if it hadn't turned into such a tourist attraction?

9. What would Dali be like if it continues to become a bigger tourist attraction?

10. Overall, has tourism so far developed Dali for the better?

You may see all of my other work at: .

Thank you so much for your time,


I have received back two of three emails from my experts as of now. Ms. Beth E. Notar's feedback was to try and focus more on one of the questions, since she thought it would be difficult to answer all 10 questions in a such a small amount of time. My second reply was from Mr. Clement A. Tisdell. He wrote that seeing things firsthand was the best way to learn, but since he had not visited this area since several years ago, he could not answer all of my questions.

Now that I have arrived at Xizhou, I can now continue my Inquiry Project process. Over the next two and a half days, I will be interviewing people in my community about my inquiry project to learn more facts about my topic and find out about more possible resources. These interviews will be called three-to-fives, since each interview will be about 3-5 minutes long, and I will be interviewing around 3-5 people.

The four people I would like to interview are Mr. Tafel, because he is very wise, Yeling, since she knows this area very well, Mrs. Linden, since she has lived here for quite a while, and one other staff member from the Linden Centre from the community.

I would like to ask my four people three main questions: Who might help me with my topic? What might they know? Where can I find this expert? If I have more time, I may also like to ask whether the person I am interviewing knows anything about my topic, or big 10 questions. If they know anything about tourism and development and provide me with a few facts, they will be posted at Phase 3. Resources they provide are listed below:

Mr. Tafel:

  • Shop/hotel/restaurant owners, Sifang Jie
  • Horse cart drivers, in Sifang Jie
  • Linden family, Bryce has been to Shuanglang
  • Mr. Yin (antique shop owner, government official)
  • Mr. Zhao (guard) informed, observant, intelligent


  • Linden family, Mr./Mrs Linden, Bryce
  • Frank
  • Isabella
  • Yan Jia Museum
  • Workers and staff at Yan Jia

Mrs. Linden

  • Linden Centre staff
  • Village head/leader
  • Locals in the village, may help me learn about history

Mr. Yang (杨小云), International Politics Major

  • Other staff in the Linden Centre
  • Employees bar
  • Linden Centre Library

I know that I am finished with 3-to-5 interviews after I feel "full", or have enough contacts and sources to last me the entire trip. I know that I have many people and places to go to that will help me with my topic and keep me busy for the next few weeks.

I have visited the library in the Linden Center and already checked out a book from the Linden Centre that I think will greatly help me with my topic. It is called Tourism and Development in Yunnan by university students from Yunnan University and edited by one of their professors. I have also taken a glimpse at books about the history of this area, which I think will also help me with my research.

Now I have finished finding all the resources I need for my Inquiry Project and can move on to Phase 3, Interpreting Information, where all the information and facts are stored.

Hey everyone, my name is Rena and I am a student in SAS Pudong. I have lived in Shanghai for around half my life, and grew up in New York. Some of the extracurricular activities I do in school include swim team, AMIS orchestra, and MUN. Microcampus was a great experience and I am so glad to have embraced this opportunity! Good luck to all future groups, and have fun in Xizhou!