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Statistical Investigation

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Statistical Investigation: Newspaper Comparison

For my statistical investigation coursework project, I have chosen to compare “The Sun” (tabloid) and “Financial Times” (broadsheet).

      I will analyse both of those newspapers for context and style and make comparisons between them. I will consider amounts of space devoted to different items such as, images, articles and headlines. Most importantly I will be analysing the readability in terms of word lengths.

      Finally I will conclude my investigation by commenting on the data collected and how my results relate to my initial hypothesis.

Tabloid: The Sun

Broadsheet: Financial Times

More images

More text

Large headline



A2 (usually)

Less complex language

More complex language  

Lower reading age

Higher reading age

Less content

More important news

Shorter words

Longer words


  1. The pages of the tabloid will be covered with a larger area of images than the broadsheet.

     I will prove this by measuring the total area of the images on each front page of each newspaper and work that out as a percentage of the total area of each page, then compare.

  1. The headlines of the tabloid are larger than the headlines of the broadsheet.

     I will test this by measuring and comparing the sizes of the front page headlines of each paper.

  1. There is more space dedicated to the actual text in the front page article of the broadsheet than of the tabloid.

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  1. Tabloid: 1 page of international news 1image02.pngimage03.png


Broadsheet: 5 pages of international news 5image04.pngimage05.png




I believe that the broadsheet newspaper will have a higher number of longer words than the tabloid and will therefore be harder to read.

     To prove this I will create two frequency tables of the number of letters in a word for each newspaper. The data will not be grouped. From these cumulative frequency tables I will construct two cumulative frequency graphs. I will also create two grouped frequency tables in order to also construct two histograms. I will analyse both the histogram and the cumulative frequency graph in order to find out whether my hypothesis is correct.

     To avoid bias I will collect a random sample of words. In order to do this I will use the RAN# button on my calculator. I will number each page in the tabloid from 1 to 60 and each page from the broadsheet 1 to 18. I will also number the first 200 words on each page 1 to 200.

      I will press SHIFTRAN#to give me a random number between 0 and 1 I will then multiply this number by 60 or 18 (depending on which newspaper it is that I am collecting data from) and then round it to an integer to identify the page of the newspaper. I will again press SHIFTRAN#to give a 2nd

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     The cumulative frequency graph also depicted a lot of information. The gradient of the tabloid is a lot steeper at the beginning of the graph, showing that most of the data is within the first quartile. As we go further down in the ‘x axis’ the line gets flatter. The lower quartile is 1.8 and the upper quartile is 5.6, giving an inter quartile range of 3.7 the inter quartile range for the tabloid is much less than that of the broadsheet showing a more consistent unbiased distribution centred around the Median.

The box plot diagram tells gives us another perspective of our data.

     For example the Median is closer to the lower quartile in the tabloid than in the broadsheet. This was hypothesised, but a larger discrepancy was anticipated.

     The Median of the broadsheet although further away from the lower quartile than the tabloid is still less than we expected. This is to do with bias, because there are large amounts of 3-4 letter words in all newspapers regardless of whether it is broadsheet or tabloid, there will never be a completely positively skewed graph of letters in words for any newspaper.

     I have concluded that my tabloid data has fitted my hypothesis very smoothly, which suggests that tabloids have a larger amount of words with few letters.

     My broadsheet did not fit my hypothesis ideally but never the less did support the main idea. I believe this to be because there are a large amount of 3 letter words in all newspapers

...read more.

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