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Research Takes USD Student to China

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Inside USD -- Hannah Wolf, a senior International Business major and Asian Studies minor, traveled to China earlier this summer to conduct field research. Wolf, a USD McNair Scholar, reflects on her experience:Through the support of my advisor, USD Associate Professor of History, Yi Sun, PhD (pictured, right, with Wolf), and the USD TRiO McNair Scholars program, I’m conducting an original research project this summer, the first time I’ve experienced a chance to do research in the field.

My project’s objective is to determine indicators of the middle-class population in China by investigating the consumption of western brands and associated experiences by middle-class Chinese women, ages 20 to 40.

The purpose of my project is to gain a fuller understanding of the driving forces behind the purchase and consumption of “brand-name” products by China’s middle class. It’s also intended to discover the general characteristics that not only underscore the consumption patterns of a growing segment of the Chinese population but also the overall trends of China’s economic development.

Through the use of questionnaires and in-person interviews, I was able to collect primary source material, which I’m currently using, as well as secondary source material to write a paper for publication.

There have been moments in my life that have shown me clearly what it is that I love and should be pursuing. My experience this summer is one such moment. The experience of field research has not only expanded my personal horizons but has also solidified my love of conducting research. My experience has left me in awe and hungry for more.

Being able to ask and answer questions that contribute to the store of world knowledge is one of the primary functions of research. That I can contribute, in my own limited way, is an honor.

— Hannah Wolf ’13

Photos courtesy of Hannah Wolf

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