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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
  • Word count: 3169

A comparison of literary styles in two newspapers.

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Literary Styles:

A comparison of literary styles in two newspapers.


Julia Hodgson

Maths Division 1

November 2001


I have chosen to compare two national newspapers. The Times is an older, more historical and hopefully more traditional newspaper. The Independent is newer, more modern and up to date. Research on the Internet has shown that The Times sells more copies than The Independent, but The Times reader has an average age of 49 whilst the Independent is bought by slightly younger people on average 40. This information shows that although they aim for similar target audiences, they each represent a different section of this market.

The data will be collected from these two newspapers that are printed on the same day and are on the same topic.

Newspaper A: The Times, October 30th 2001, New York Prayer Service.

Newspaper B: The Independent, October 30th 2001, New York Prayer Service.

The aim of this Coursework is to obtain data from each article that will help provide a conclusion to several hypotheses. Each hypothesis will have several objectives to be completed before a conclusion will be drawn.


  1. ‘The Times will have more syllables per word than The Independent’


Choose a sampling method to allow fair and random data to be measured.

Count the number of syllables in each selected word and record the result.

Calculate averages and display the data as required.

  1. ‘The number of letters per word will be greater in The Independent than The



Choose a sampling method to allow fair and random data to be measured.

Count the number of letters in each selected word and record the result.

Calculate averages and display the data as required.

  1. ‘ There will be more words per sentence in The Times than The Independent.’


...read more.


A graph can be drawn of the cumulative frequency distribution; a curve can be obtained which has a characteristic shape. This curve is called a cumulative frequency curve. Both curves have a similar shape; this shape is the shape of values that are in a 'normal distribution'. This means that the data if put on a frequency curve would have symmetrical curve peaking at the middle. The cumulative frequency curve for The Independent has a slightly steeper incline, but the median is at the same position along the x-axis as The Times. This shows that The Independent has a fractionally more of a 'normal distribution' than The Times does and that the percentage values per interval in The Independent are on average higher than The Times. The curve for The Independent is smoother towards the end than The Times. This again shows that the decline from the peak is more regular in The Independent than in The Times.

The inter-quartile range is a range that discards any higher or lower value and concentrates on the middle values; this shows how spread out the main part of the data is. The Times interquartile range is 1.25 and The Independent’s interquartile range is 1.1. The inter-quartile ranges of both papers only differ by 0.15.

Using the results from my table I calculated the following.

The Times.

Mean         = 1.61 to 2 d.p.

Median        = 1

Mode         = 1

The Independent

Mean        = 1.51 to 2 d.p.

Median         = 1

Mode         = 1

These show that although the percentage values in The Independent are on average higher per interval, but overall the total average is higher in The Times by 0.10.

My hypothesis has been proven true and The Times does have more syllable per word than The Independent.  

...read more.


Using the results from my table I calculated the following.

The Times.

Mean         = 2.07 to 2 d.p.

Median         = 2

Mode         = 2

The Independent

Mean        = 2.41 to 2 d.p.

Median          = 3

Mode         = 3

        These results confirm my conclusion as The Independent has a higher mean, median and mode than The Times. If I had more data, it would have reduced the effect of any anomalous results in the calculations.


In measuring anything we are limited in our accuracy by the equipment available and our own human limitations. It is important that we are aware of what error is implied by our measurements and what the maximum possible error is likely to be. Throughout the course all data has been subjected to human error and if there had been more time available I would have repeated my data collection several times to reduce the likelihood of a miscalculation.

        The greatest problems encountered during the Coursework, was the lack of time and the lack of data. The lack of data limited two of my hypotheses and the only solution is to use a larger source of data instead of a single article, possible a whole newspaper or simply a longer, more substantial article. In some hypothesis it was easy to collect over 150 samples for use and this eliminated any affect of anomalies in the results.

 If more time was available, I would have carried out more thorough and extensive data collection and I would have chosen some more complex hypotheses to create a greater challenge and I believe that they would have been more interesting to research.

Although a more complex hypothesis may expand an investigation, it is also justifiable to say that to improve the results of all the questions a simple method could be employed. The accuracy and reliability of any conclusions would be helped if more data was collected from the papers. This would support more valid conclusions.

...read more.

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