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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
  • Word count: 3395

Comparing the length of randomly selected words found in different newspapers via samples.

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1.                                Statistics Project                         By Max Lacome- Shaw


For this project I will compare the length of randomly selected words found in different newspapers via samples. Since different parts of each newspaper will have different writing styles I will investigate three different areas and take a stratified sample to minimise bias. My hypothesis is that broadsheet newspapers will contain longer words on average than tabloids or quality tabloids because broadsheet papers are aimed at more educated people, and therefore will use longer more descriptive and expressive words. As well as this I believe that the quality tabloid will have higher results than the tabloids for much of the same reasons. I also believe that word length in sport articles will be shorter on average than in news articles, and I will investigate this. Subsequently I believe that The Sun will have a larger and probably longer Sports section due to the general nature of the Tabloid. For overall page numbers I believe that the Daily Mail will have the most, due to the fact that its pages are smaller than the Telegraphs and font size around the same, as well as from previous analysis of The Sun, it will have more to write about because of better researchers into its stories.  

The newspapers I used were:

The Sun – Tabloid                                              

Telegraph – Broadsheet

Daily Mail – Quality Tabloid          

To start of my project I needed to get information that would help me reach my goal of finding out what type of paper has the longest, on average, word length. I decided to take random stratified samples from each paper, in the sections me and my group for this period choose. The sections that we chose were:

1. Home News

2. World News

3. Sports News

...read more.



The section with the smallest per-cent I would give a sample of 50 words.

This table shows that my hypothesis was wrong to the point that I thought The Sun would have had a bigger Sports section, by the Telegraph proved to have the biggest.

3.                                                                                 Max Lacome- Shaw

As well as this because of the Daily Mails small per-cant of Sports News, just 2%, if gave the Telegraph a 200 word sample.  

I selected a stratified sample as follows:

I chose the newspaper with the lowest percentage value for Home News, which was the Daily Mail (21%) and selected a fifty-word sample from this. Then I calculated the other papers as follows:

                The Daily Telegraph = 27% = 27/21 x 50= 64 words

                The Sun = 22% =22/21 x 50 = 52 words

I repeated this process for Foreign News and Sports News results above. Using Random Number Button to Find a Random Sample, this is how I did it using my calculator:

Shift, Ran# = (Gives Random Number) x (Number of Words in Article)

Whatever number I obtained from this I rounded to the nearest integer. Example:

798 words in article

Random number =  0.375 x 798 = 299.25

                                                    = 299 (rounded)

In this case I chose the 299th word in the article and wrote it down with the number that the random number method chose for me. If by chance my process selected the same number more than once I ignored it and carried on. I repeated the process until I had chosen the required sample size. I then counted the length of each word and however many letters it had in it from the sample and listed the results in tally charts, on the next pages.

4.                                                                                                      Max Lacome- Shaw

Once I had obtained all my tally tables I then converted my results into a cumulative frequency column, added on to the side of the tally tables.

...read more.


The standard deviation result are interesting because of the similarities between the Daily Mail results and The Sun results, there only is .03 differences between the two. This shows that they both have about the same spread of word length. The Telegraph in standard deviation has the highest mark, this is what I did expect due to the fact that mean is affected by freak results and the Telegraph did have a high word length of 14.  The higher the standard deviation, the higher the spread of word length. This shows a higher spread of word lengths, probably because of the longer words in the sample.

About 2/3 of data lies within the standard deviation, above the mean or below the mean.

Example:              4.46 + 2.35 = 6.81

                             4.46 + 2.35 = 2.11


My conclusion is that overall my results do slightly support my hypothesis at the beginning of the project; although in parts it is false – for example in the box plots of ‘Comparing Newspapers – Home News’ I thought that that Telegraphs median would have almost certainly been higher than The Sun’s but I was proved to have been wrong. I could have improved my this project in many areas such as, more data sampling and or more articles to sample from, as well as various versions of the same newspapers from different days. I could have also tried other articles that could have backed up my research slightly more and given me more accurate results. All through the project I could have also made my result more accurate by using a greater number of words behind the decimal point. In my results I didn’t expect the Daily Mail to do


better than the Telegraph because of its audience but throughout the project it seemed to.

...read more.

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