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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
  • Word count: 4199

A British national broadsheet newspaper on the same day, with the same topic will have on average, more letters per word than a tabloid newspaper.

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Statistical Investigation into Newspapers Introduction There are many different kinds of newspapers for sale, which cater for the diverse range of readers' preferences. These range from the more descriptive and complicated broadsheet newspapers, to the less so serious styles of the tabloids. In addition, the style varies accordingly between the levels of the newspapers, for example, it is common knowledge that the broadsheet newspapers are more descriptive, and is harder to understand because of its longer words. While tabloids are easier, to read as it makes used of shorter words and the topics reported are often done so in a light style and depth. Specify and Plan Aim My aim, is based on the hypothesis that: This aim is to prove the common belief that broadsheet newspaper uses longer words than a tabloid one, which may lead to the conclusion that by the use of longer words a more complex vocabulary and sentence structure may occur. Which leads to the complexity of reading it, while a tabloid uses shorter words to get the information across, it also shows the readability of the different newspapers. In my further investigation (once I have finished my primary objectives), I will be analysing any correlation between the average lengths of words and sentences within articles. This stems from an intriguing theory, which I would like to prove or disapprove: do longer sentences mean that there are longer words in it or is it because there is a large number of small words in it? Original Aim Objectives * To collect data (100 randomly selected words) on the number of letters per word in both a tabloid and a broadsheet paper, from a similar article. The random selection of words, will consist of taking a random number from the calculator by using the random number generator. This number will be used as a starting point (e.g. the fourth word) ...read more.


687 Sigma (xf) 433 * MEAN To find the mean of the words of the 2 newspapers to compare the 2 word lengths and therefore proving that the original hypothesis is correct, I will have to divide the (xf) number by (n), and since there is 100 samples from each newspaper, we just have to divide the (xf) figure by 100. Therefore: Mean word length for The Times: 6.87 letters per word (687/100) Mean word length for The Mirror: 4.33 letters per word (433/100) Information from the frequency tables was used to plot the frequency polygon graph (next page), the graph clearly shows us that THE MIRROR had bunching of letters in the 2-6 letter word range (it is skewed to the left). The TIMES however was more evenly spread out and is roughly uni-modal. I used this technique because, I felt that this was the best summary value to use. * RANGE The range of the MIRROR is 9-1=8, which suggests that the figures are all bunched together in the 8-letter difference between the first and the last. The TIMES has a range of 12, which tells us that it has long words in it, longer than the MIRROR's. Also I have plotted on the frequency polygon are a set of box plots, this is useful because they show that for the MIRROR, its most part of its words are consisted of less than 6 letters. In the TIMES however, the majority is over 4 words (75%). CONFIDENCE To calculate the confidence limit (to see how close your sample mean is to the real mean): 100 samples= (n) Mean word length (x bar) = 4.33 (the MIRROR) Standard Deviation (s) = V ( Sigma x2 - mean2) = 3.6 (1dp) No. of words Standard error of sample mean: SE(x bar) = s / Vn = 3.596/10 = 0.4 (1 standard error level) Therefore, we can conclude that the real mean lies within 1 standard error level of our sample mean (4 - 4.7) ...read more.


In order to improve, I could try and do this in a wider sample base (around at least 100 different articles) as described by the miserable failure of the 19 word sentence, which shows one thing, randomness doesn't always work, therefore I might consider stratified sampling, therefore getting a part of everything. Perhaps it would be good as well to do sampling of subject content instead of a source content (which showed me that in the Independent, that they might have studied together or that the editors are very consistent-see above for more details). This would cover more texts and could help further improve my new hypothesis (if I have time to do it) whether there is a certain style specific to a type of profession. Also it would be interesting to find out about reporters who are freelancers and work for different newspapers, whether they change their style with the newspaper and if so, what is the change? I could also do a project on the changing writing styles of an establishment, over the years through the archive systems in the newspaper websites. Seeing how the word lengths and sentence length matters. Notice that there is an anomaly in the 21st Mean sentence length, where it is deviant of the main correlation by about 3 words for the mean sentence length, or 0.25 of a letter in the mean word length axis. This is although an infinitesimal small deviation, shows that there truly is an powerful correlation. However, I have to say that a possibility for no 19 word sentence appearing is that, the sentence length are all mean and therefore, even if I have got a 19 word sentence, it is not mean for the whole article. And finally, I should make the investigation more fair, by using tabloids as well as broadsheet papers, so therefore if I am going to improve this investigation, I will try different kinds of newspapers and other things as said above. Appendix The Independent website for the 30+ articles that I sampled is at: www.theindependent.co.uk Philip Xiu GCSE Maths Statistics Coursework - 1 - ...read more.

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