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• Level: GCSE
• Subject: Maths
• Word count: 6254

# Choose some newspapers, analyze their content and style and make comparisons.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Newspaper ComparisonsApril / May 2004

Task:         to choose some newspapers, analyze their content and style and make comparisons.

I have chosen to compare a broadsheet, a tabloid and a quality newspaper for readability.

My hypothesisis that readability differs across different newspaper types, being at an easier level in tabloid newspapers rather than broadsheet or quality newspapers, and that readability differs across different categories.

Plan

I plan to do this task in three main steps to simplify and clarify it:

1. to specify the problem and plan how to do it, which will give me a clear idea of how to approach the task
2. to collect, and represent, data related to the problem so that I can draw comparisons between the newspapers I am analyzing
3. to summarize, compare, and discuss results in a report

My aims are to:

• research the readability of a tabloid, a quality and a broadsheet newspaper
• to combine my research with appropriate statistical diagrams to present the data I use,
• to select samples of data that are as unbiased and accurate as possible.
• to analyze my data and find values such as central tendency
• to make the report, concluding what I have found

Since bias could be difficult to avoid, I will take steps to prevent it.  For example, I will choose stratified samples from different categories (since readability is likely to vary between different categories), and choose my samples from the same topics, (since readability will vary within each topic).        I will do my best to ensure that samples are of similar size.

1) To specify the problem and plan how to do it

I am going to compare one example each of a broadsheet, a tabloid and a quality newspaper for readability.  I have chosen the Independent, the Daily Mirror and the Times for this.

Middle

0

12

100%

Word length

 Mean characters per word Frequency Cumulative Frequency Percentage of frequency 3.5 < 3.99 2 2 17% 4.0 < 4.49 3 5 42% 4.5 < 4.99 3 8 67% 5.0 < 5.49 1 9 75% 5.5 < 5.99 2 11 92% 6.0 < 6.49 0 11 92% 6.5 < 7.00 1 12 100%

Median sentence length         = 20 words per sentence

IQR         = 32 - 10 = 12

Median word length         = 4.65 characters per word

IQR        = 5.50 - 4.15 = 1.35

Mean sentence length         = (Σ sentence lengths) / total sentences

=  230/ 12

=  19.17 words per sentence

Mean word length        = Σ characters means/ total sentences

= 57.29/ 12

= 4.77 characters per word

Standard deviation of        = √ (Σ (variable-mean value)²/number of variables)

sentence length        = √ (1375.6668/ 12)

= 10.71

Standard deviation of        = √ (Σ (variable-mean value)²/number of variables)

word length        = √ (9.3721/ 12)

= 0.88

The Times

Sentence length

 Words per sentence Frequency Cumulative Frequency Percentage of frequency 0 < 9 4 4 31% 10<19 5 9 69% 20<29 1 10 77% 30 < 39 2 12 92% 40 < 49 1 13 100%

Word length

 Mean characters per word Frequency Cumulative Frequency Percentage of frequency 3.5 < 3.99 1 1 8% 4.0 < 4.49 5 6 46% 4.5 < 4.99 5 11 84% 5.0 < 5.49 2 13 100% 5.5 < 5.99 0 13 100% 6.0 < 6.49 0 13 100% 6.5 < 7.00 0 13 100%

Median sentence length        = 14 words per sentence

IQR        = 27 - 8 = 19

Median word length        = 4.55 characters per word

IQR        = 4.90 - 4.20 = 0.70

Mean sentence length         = Σ sentence lengths/ total sentences

= 247/ 13

= 19 words per sentence

Mean word length         = Σ character means / total sentences

= 59.42/ 13

= 4.57 characters per word

Standard deviation of        = √ (Σ (variable-mean value)²/number of variables)

sentence length         = √ (1976/ 13)

= 12.33

Standard deviation of         = √ (Σ (variable-mean value)²/number of variables)

word length        = √ (2.7076/ 13)

=  0.46

The Daily Mirror

Sentence length

 Words per sentence Frequency Cumulative Frequency Percentage of frequency 0 < 9 3 3 25% 10<19 6 9 75% 20<29 3 12 100% 30 < 39 0 12 100% 40 < 49 0 12 100%

Word length

 Mean characters per word Frequency Cumulative Frequency Percentage of frequency 3.5 < 3.99 3 3 25% 4.0 < 4.49 4 7 58% 4.5 < 4.99 1 8 66% 5.0 < 5.49 4 12 100% 5.5 < 5.99 0 12 100% 6.0 < 6.49 0 12 100% 6.5 < 7.00 0 12 100%

Median sentence length         = 15 words per sentence

IQR        = 20 - 10 = 10

Median word length        = 4.40 characters per word

IQR        = 5.15 - 4.00 = 1.15

Mean sentence length        = Σ sentence lengths/ total sentences

= 166/ 12

= 13.83 words per sentence

Mean word length         = Σ character means/ total sentences

= 53.52/ 12

= 4.46 characters per word

Standard deviation of        = √ (Σ (variable-mean value)²/number of variables)

sentence length        = √ (685.6668/ 12)

= 7.56

Standard deviation of         = √ (Σ (variable-mean value)²/number of variables)

word length         = √ (2.887/ 12)

= 0.49

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Box plots

Sentence lengths

These results show that:        * The Independent has the greatest variation

* The Daily Mirror has the least variation

* The Independent has thehighest measure of central tendency

* The Times has the lowest measure of central tendency

* The Times has the greatest range

* The Daily Mirror has the smallest range

Word lengths

These results show that:        * The Independent has the largest range and the greatest variation

* The Times has the smallest variation

* The Daily Mirror has the lowest measure of central tendency

* The Independent has the highest measure of central tendency

============================================================================

As well as comparing readability across different newspaper, I think it would be quite interesting to compare readability across different categories.  I hypothesize that readability varies across different categories, and my prediction is that it will be easiest in the tabloid newspaper and hardest in the quality newspaper.  I have data from just three categories - News, Sport and Adverts, because these are the only common categories of the newspapers, so I will compare these categories alone.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

News

Sentence length

 Words per sentence Frequency Cumulative Frequency Percentage of frequency 0 < 9 0 0 0% 10<19 10 10 63% 20<29 3 13 81% 30 < 39 2 15 94% 40 < 49 1 16 100%

Word length

 Mean characters per word Frequency Cumulative Frequency Percentage of frequency 3.5 < 3.99 2 2 13% 4.0 < 4.49 3 5 31% 4.5 < 4.99 4 9 56% 5.0 < 5.49 5 14 88% 5.5 < 5.99 1 15 94% 6.0 < 6.49 0 15 94% 6.5 < 7.00 1 16 100%

Median sentence length         = 18 words per sentence

IQR        = 26 - 14 = 12

Median word length        = 4.85 characters per word

IQR        = 5.30 - 4.30 = 1.00

Mean sentence length        = Σ sentence lengths/ total sentences

= 328/ 16

= 20.50 words per sentence

Mean word length         = Σ character means/ total sentences

= 78.53/ 16

= 4.91 characters per word

Standard deviation of        = √ (Σ (variable-mean value)²/number of variables)

sentence length        = √ (1529.75/ 16)

= 9.78

Standard deviation of         = √ (Σ (variable-mean value)²/number of variables)

word length         = √ (7.5781/ 16)

= 0.69

Sports

Sentence length

 Words per sentence Frequency Cumulative Frequency Percentage of frequency 0 < 9 0 0 0% 10<19 5 5 45% 20<29 3 8 73% 30 < 40 4 11 100% 40 < 50 0 11 100%

Conclusion

0% of the sentences in either News or Sport were less than 10 words each in length.  Therefore, it is unlikely for a sentence shorter than 10 words long to appear in the News or Sport sections of a newspaper.  However, 100% of the Advert sentences had a length of less than 10 words, so it is highly probable that all the Adverts in these three newspapers will have a sentence length of less than 10 words long.

50% of the Independent sentences were under/ over 19 words long so it is equally likely for a sentence of either length to appear in the Independent.

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I think that my method was quite accurate, since I used stratified sampling and I tried to avoid bias, for example, I chose samples from different categories, since readability is likely to differ in different categories.  All of my data is primary (I collected it myself), so I can be sure that it is as accurate as possible.

To improve the method that I used and to make it more accurate, I could sample further data by using more than one newspaper for every type of newspaper, i.e., two or more tabloids instead of one.  If I used bigger samples, such as comparing more than one article from each category, this could change the results because it lessens the limits of the investigation and improves its accuracy.

I could have:         ∙ done a survey questionnaire about the type of newspaper people read

∙ written to the newspaper boards, asking for information about where their newspaper sells most or least widely

∙ looked at a lot of different newspapers, investigating the relationship between cost and readability.

All these would have helped me in my research because they would give me more insight about the circulation, the types of people who read the newspapers and even their attitude towards the different newspapers.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Comparing length of words in newspapers section.

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