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Comparing Newspapers

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Introduction

GCSE Maths Coursework Year 10

By : Charles Motraghi 10 ALT / 10 C1

Introduction

I hypothesize that a broadsheet newspaper will have a higher reading age than a tabloid newspaper.

I predict this because readers of broadsheet newspapers are expected to be better educated, and therefore, the reading age will be higher. Looking at the content of a typical tabloid article suggests that the material requires a lower reading age (Killed by fear of the dentist, is an example).

I will go about proving, or disproving my hypothesis, by using two of the formulae for calculating reading  age provided with my coursework paper. Since I cannot tell which of the formulae is the most accurate, I will first use the formulae on books of which I know the reading age. If they seem reasonable, i.e. within a predetermined range of what the publishers suggest the reading age to be, I will continue to use them to determine whether my hypothesis above is correct or incorrect. I will also devise my own formula, using criteria not used by the other formulae, to complement their results.

For further analysis, I will compare the mean, mode, median, standard deviation and range of the results I gather.

Method

First, I will use the two formulae to see what reading age they attribute to a book for which the reading age is stated by the publisher. If the formulae give reasonable results, i.e. within the range stated by the publisher, then I will use them with the newspapers.

...read more.

Middle

Here are my results:

FREQUENCY

Out of 100

Out of 150

Syllables per word

Harry Potter

Harry Potter

1

66

99

2

30

43

3

3

6

4

1

2

I will now see what forecast formula shows the reading age of this Harry Potter book to be:

W= 76 / 4 = 19

S=( 1 x 66 ) + ( 2 x 30 ) + ( 3 x 3 ) + ( 4 x 1 ) = 139

R = 25 – ( 99 / 10 ) = 25 – 9.9 = 15.1

I can now tell that the forecast formula is flawed, because the reading age it comes up with is far outside the range 9-12. Now I will see what the syllables formula shows:

R = 2.7971 + ( 0.0778 x 19 ) + ( 0.0455 x 139 ) =10.59

From this I can see that the syllables formula is the most accurate, and therefore I will use this to find the reading age of the broadsheet and tabloid newspapers.

However, the syllables formula doesn’t include the amount of syllables per word as criteria, so I have made my own formula which incorporates this. This is how I worked my own formula out.

First, I have to determine what criteria I am using. I know that because the syllables formula does not factor in syllables per word, I will use that instead in my formula. So far, my formula looks like this:

R = (total number of syllables in 100 words / 100)

However, it is far from complete. This would give very strange results, so I must raise the number I get given as the reading age. To find what number to multiply it by, I should use a reading age that I have already worked out to help me work out what the multiplier should be. This is how I will do it:

R = 10.59

10.59 = (139 / 100) = 1.39

10.59 / 1.39 = 7.61        (the reason I divided the reading age by

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Conclusion

Improvements: I could have used data from a whole newspaper, I could have used a computer or something which could have helped me keep count of words, I could have spent more time developing a formula, incorporating many forms of criteria, such as cumulative frequency of syllables per word, etc, I could have selected a passage which didn’t end in the middle of a sentence. I could have compared the front pages of the newspapers, to see if there was any difference there, or lack of one, and I could have compared the length of articles.

...read more.

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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