Global Fisheries Conservation Stakeholder Interview

Sarah Glaser
College of William and Mary
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Students will identify a person who has an economic, ecological, academic, educational, philosophical, or cultural interest in a local fishery (stakeholder). The student will prepare a set of interview questions, conduct an interview, and write a 5-8 page paper based on the interview. Students will generate an "interview goal" to guide and focus the interview topic.

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This assignment will be used in a first year writing seminar taught through the Biology major and with credit towards the Marine Science minor. All first year students are required to complete a writing seminar at William and Mary.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students must be able to:
  1. What criteria define a local fishery stakeholder
  2. Construct a sufficiently narrow and relevant topic for the interview
  3. Write a set of interview questions that provoke thought, generate insight, and engage the stakeholder
  4. Manage time and communicate efficiently and professionally with the stakeholder
  5. Write a paper that addresses a specific concern of the local fishery, uses correct grammar and formatting, and is interesting and thoughtful

How the activity is situated in the course

The interview will be conducted approximately half-way through the course, with the final paper culminating the course. It will be a stand-alone project, but it will have several components (a draft objective, the list of questions, the interview itself, and the final paper).


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Students will learn about conservation issues related to a local fishery, the economic challenges to conservation, and the biology and ecology of the given fishery.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

This project will: broaden students' understanding of the members of society who rely on fisheries; teach them to communicate in a professional manner; help them formulate a research question; encourage synthesis of complex and related ideas.

Other skills goals for this activity

This project will strengthen writing and language skills and encourage students to actively seek creative solutions to data collection.

Description of the activity/assignment

At the half-way point in the course, students will have knowledge of the biology and ecology of fisheries around the world. Students will individually select a local fishery of interest and choose a stakeholder who participates in some capacity in the fishery. Students will contact this stakeholder, introduce themselves and the project, and arrange an interview. Students will be required to formulate a research question that the interview seeks to answer and write at least 10 questions prior to the interview. After the interview, students will answer their research question using the material gained in the interview, and other relevant literature.

Determining whether students have met the goals

The choice of stakeholder must be approved by the instructor. Students will submit the research question and interview questions to the instructor prior to the interview. The bulk of the grading for the assignment will come from the final paper. The instructor will evaluate the creativity and significance of the research question. Questions will be graded based on their writing style, relevance to the research question, and ability to demonstrate original research on the question. The final paper will be graded for ability to answer the question, synthesis of interview data and secondary data collected from the literature, and writing style (grammar, etc).

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