Total time: 45 minutes
• Provide opportunity for trainees to process what occurred over the course of the growing season in their own ponds from beginning to end;
• Provide opportunity for trainees to thoroughly examine and synthesize their results, interpret those results, draw conclusions and assess their pond management techniques and strategies;
• Provide opportunity for trainees to look at their pond work from the perspective they now have, and to see how all of the technical material they have learned could be applied to or was reflected in their own aguaculture experience during training.
Overview: Throughout the training program, even as they are involved in many other activities, trainees continue to work with their ponds as fish farmers. Writing the final report is the culmination of this work, and it is extremely important. Weekly reports describe short periods throughout the growing season, but the final report looks at the entire growing season as a whole. Since the trainees harvest their ponds, they have an opportunity to learn the actual results of their efforts. In writing their final reports, they analyze why those results were obtained. They find out whether or not they have been successful fish farmers from the economic standpoint, and to apply everything they have learned to their interpretations and the conclusions they draw. The following includes a design for a session in which trainees are informed of some of the guidelines and the format for the final reports, as well as a set of trainer notes with further information about the content and reviewing of the reports.
1. The trainer who is in charge of reports makes the following points regarding the final report:
• The final report should allow the staff to understand all that the trainee has done and observed in his/her pond, from the initial goals to the final results. The trainees should make connections and draw conclusions.
• While information and knowledge they obtained from seminars and the field trip will be important in helping them analyze their observations, they are not to regurgitate all of that information in this report.
• The audience to whom they are writing is the training staff.
2. The trainer informs the trainees of any other specific guidelines or requirements regarding any part of the final report, and provides necessary information regarding the format. (See Trainer Notes for examples)
3. The trainer reminds the trainees that the same standards apply to the final reports that were set for the weekly reports regarding professionalism, neatness, conciseness, completeness, clarity, and organization. The trainees are informed that, if anything, trainers will be even more strict about these standards.
4. The trainer explains the procedures regarding submitting reports, evaluation, redos and acceptance. For example:
• The reports are due two days to the half-day after completing your final harvest. (If you finish harvesting before noon on Tuesday, the report is due at noon on Thursday. If you finish harvesting at 3:00 on Tuesday, the report is due at 5:00 on Thursday). Remind trainees that it is not to their advantage to procrastinate, and turning in reports earlier than the due time will speed up the process and mean that they will be able to have their final interview sooner.
• Final reports are to be turned in by giving them to the trainer in charge of reports (he/she will distribute them to the appropriate trainer), or by placing them in the box that will be just outside of the staff office.
• Your final reports will be evaluated by the same trainer who has been reading your weekly reports throughout training. Once the first draft is submitted, you will deal directly with that trainer. You will be notified about required additions, redos, changes, etc. and the trainer will arrange further meetings with you on an individual basis as appropriate.
• The trainer who is evaluating your report will notify you when it has been accepted.
The trainer asks allows trainees to ask questions and clarifies any points of confusion, then concludes the meeting.
Resources and Materials:
• Prepared newsprint with format information, if desired, and masking tape
• Blackboard, chalk, eraser
• If desired, the trainer in charge can make up a checklist or worksheet to help trainers go through the reports. Each trainer would receive one worksheet for each trainee whose report s/he will evaluate.
• Box or other container placed in specified place near staff office for trainees to submit their final reports
• Make available to trainees throughout final reports writing:
• Graph paper
• Notebook paper
• Colored pencils
• For staff members:
• Small post-it notes (for making comments on reports)
• Red or blue pencils, if desired.
• Final reports are very time consuming. Because they really demand that the trainees synthesize all of their experience and apply everything they have learned to the interpretation and analysis of their results, they are extremely valuable and a major part of the program. Despite the tremendous amount of work involved, trainees should enjoy and be excited by what they learn through the writing of this report. It is, therefore, important to be open and clear with trainees regarding any required format or other criteria. Trainees should not have to waste time on "busy work" because they were not aware of some specific preference of the training staff regarding the format they use.
• The degree to which the staff chooses to standardize the format or demand very specific ways of presenting certain material is up to that staff, but once the decisions have been made, they should be explained to the trainees and all staff members should be consistent in upholding them. It should be clear which elements of presentation are left up to the individual trainees, and all staff members should be consistent in allowing individual approaches for those areas provided they are reasonable and effective in serving the purpose they are meant to serve.
• An alternative to having the staff determine the format is to approach it similarly to the way weekly report formats were set. That is, one or two trainees can be selected to design the format. If this is done, the trainees should work with the trainer in charge of reports to be sure their format will meet the needs of the staff, then they should present it to the group.
• A question that always comes up at this point is whether or not trainees may have access to their weekly reports to help them write the final report. Strictly speaking, the trainees should have all of the information from the weekly reports in their own records since those reports were submitted with the understanding that they would be kept by the training staff. However, in reality many trainees were not as well organized as they should have been, especially early in the program. Arguments could be made for either case regarding the pros and cons of permitting them to review their weekly reports. In this program, although we pointed out to the trainees that they shouldn't need to see their weekly reports, we did allow them to borrow them to facilitate the writing of the final reports. They were required to return the weekly reports along with the final report when they submitted it so that the trainer would have access to the raw data and other information found in the weekly reports.
• Once final reports begin to come in, trainers are overwhelmed. It is important that trainers realize this will happen and that they prepare themselves. The trainer in charge of reports should have a staff meeting to thoroughly explain exactly what the trainees have been told is required of them. Every effort should be made to ensure consistency among the staff. The trainer in charge of reports will be too busy with his/her own set of reports to check the comments made by trainers on all of the other reports. He/she should do some spot checking if possible, but as more reports come in this will become unfeasible.
• For the trainees, writing the final reports is an intense personal experience. It requires a great deal of work and thought, and requires that they do an in-depth analysis and assessment of their own work that has been a major component of their training. They are often excited by what they learn as they go through this process. Trainers must be sensitive to this. It is difficult to read five or six final reports without losing interest, but you owe it to the trainees to try to read each one with a clear mind, pay attention, and make useful comments. Try to focus on the content and the comprehension demonstrated by the analysis and interpretations the trainee makes so that you help him/her go as far as possible with the analyses. Encourage the trainee to squeeze all of the learning possible out of this experience and try to convey a positive attitude that will help the trainee appreciate his/her own observations.
• Trainers should work directly with the trainees whose reports they are evaluating. Try to turn the work around in a timely manner and be clear about what you are requiring when returning work for a redo, addition, change, etc. When you feel the report is acceptable, inform the trainee that s/he will be told what time to report for his/her final interview. Trainers keep the final report until the final interview.
• An example of format information for final reports follows. In this list, quite a bit of detail is provided regarding the expected content of each section. The degree to which these details are discussed with the trainees is up to the discretion of the staff. In many cases, they are obvious and probably don't require too much elaboration.
Title Page (similar to weekly report)
Table of Contents
Introduction (should introduce the paper, state its purpose and relate essential information that will prepare the reader for what will follow) It should include:
• pond number
• stocking information
• total weight
• average weight
• species stocked (complete species name)
• size and age (optional)
• net yield in weight/area/time
Site and Pond
• Pond description
• location, map (illustrates system, reference point)
• surface area
• dike dimensions
• water supply
• slopes of bottom, dikes and drainage (optional)
• soil type
Materials: The items listed below in this category are not comprehensive; trainees should list all materials and describe in detail. (For example: Seine 50 ft. long, 6 ft. deep, 1/4 " delta mesh, treated.)
• size and flow rate
• type (diaphragm, centrifugal, electric)
• type (seine, cast, dip)
• length and depth
• mesh size and type
• treated or not
• Scales, measuring boards, etc.
• Grass seed
• Water quality testing equipment
• Hach kit or other test kits
• Secchi disk or stick
• Plankton net
• shovels, hoes, rakes, machetes, etc.
Management: Made up of the various relevant sections (as in weekly reports).
• Pond preparation
• reparation of bottom
• grass cutting
• addition of water
• for each species:
• average weight
• total weight
• range of weights and/or sizes
• handling techniques
• NPK ratio
• animal or plant source, if organic
• application method
• results: visual observations, water quality changes
• date begun
• sinking vs. floating
• pellets, meal, brans
• % protein
• amounts, percent body weight fed
• method of feeding
• observations on feeding behavior
• dike repair
• cut grass, etc.
• water level control (inflow/outflow, standpipe changes)
• predator control
• date of first fry observed
• date of first nest building activities, other reproductive behavior
• average weight of fry at harvest
• estimated number of fry at harvest
• Sampling and Growth
• sampling schedule
• sampling method
• results for each sample
• average fish weigh
• total estimated standing crop
• percent population sampled
• total sample weight and number of fish
• growth rate
• graph of growth
• Water Quality
• testing schedules
• quantitative data: DO, temp, pH, turbidity, C02, hardness, alkalinity
• qualitative data: color, weather
(Note: Raw data need not be presented in the report. It is sufficient to
note that they were measured and recorded, and to note trends,
correlations, and extremes)
• yield (weight and weight/area/time)
• number of fish (each species)
• average weight of fish (per different size group if applicable).
• total weight of fish (net and gross)
• number and weight of fry
• % survival
• Post harvest maintenance
• account for all movement of fish (including sales, giveaways, storage)
• itemized list of all expenses and gains
• total expenditures
• total income
• net loss/profit
Discussion and Conclusions
• problems and solutions
• results: yield and profit/loss, degree of success in relation to goals
• explanation regarding yield and profit/loss.
• Data should be presented in synthesized, useful form. Choose the form that best suits that set of data and presents it in the most meaningful way. Graphs, charts and diagrams should be clearly labelled and neat. Graph paper is available.
• Methods should be included for each appropriate section and should be clearly explained. Be clear and precise. With methods used for water quality tests, include information like the time(s) of day a test was performed, the location and depth at which it was performed, etc., but it is not necessary to copy the Hack kit instructions. "per Hach Kit instructions" is sufficient.
• Where appropriate, figures should be standardized to help the reader visualize and make comparisons with familiar standards. For example, production figures should be expressed in pounds per acre and kilos per hectare (or are) in addition to the specific figures for that pond.
• Express figures in both metric and english units.