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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
  • Word count: 3983

Statistics Coursework – Comparing Newspapers

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Statistics Coursework - Comparing Newspapers The Plan Introduction I have been told to produce a statistical investigation on the subject of newspapers. The investigation needs to draw a comparison in some way between at least two newspapers. I will have to form my own hypotheses and then collect primary data. Original Hypothesis I am going to investigate and evaluate the following hypothesis: "Based on the sports sections of three different types of newspaper: The Sun (tabloid), The Daily Mirror, and The Times (broadsheet), The Sun will be the easiest newspaper to read or the 'most readable' on average. " (This is what I have predicted) Data Collection As I have mentioned, the data used for this coursework has to be primary data collected by myself. To test my hypothesis, I am going to, for each newspaper, collect data based on the readability of sentences of all the articles of four different sports which are: Football, Cricket, Rugby and Horse Racing. I have chosen these four sports because, having had a look through each paper, These are the four sports that have articles in all of the papers I am testing. I will produce a table of my results (using a sampled population of 100, if possible, because this is a large enough sample to represent the data but small enough to be manageable). I will then develop the investigation further from there. Testing Readability For my method of testing readability, I am going to use the "Readability Statistics" function on Microsoft. In "Spelling and Grammar" on the "Tools" menu, there is an option which will show you the readability statistics of a document. Enabling this option shows you different statistics including: the number of words, characters, paragraphs and sentences, the average number of words per sentence, sentences per paragraph and characters per word. I am going to use the "Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease" as the statistic for testing the readability of the sentences. ...read more.


Then, for each newspaper, I typed up the selected sentences in Microsoft Word so that I could test their readability with my Flesch Reading Ease method. After I had typed up all of my sentences for each newspaper, I would go through the sentences individually highlighting them and obtaining a Flesch Reading Ease score for all of them, which I recorded on a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel. I then entered my sampled data set of 100 sentences into Autograph so that I could use Autograph to draw a histogram of my data for each newspaper. After drawing a histogram for the data of each of the three newspapers, I then decided to fit a normal curve to the data sets so that I could make more concrete decisions as to what to do next in my investigation and how to make a comparison e.g. what average and measure of spread to use. The diagrams The next three pages are the statistical diagrams I created using Autograph: Analysis of the statistical diagrams The Mirror It was immediately quite clear to see from the histogram that the distribution was not symmetrical and that it showed very slight negative skew. This was confirmed by fitting a normal curve to the data set and further confirmed by drawing a box and whisker diagram. The box and whisker diagram showed that the median was not quite in the middle of the interquartile range, which it would have been if the data was symmetrical. I concluded from this that the mean would not be a good representation of the data set because it had been affected by extreme values or outliers, which 'pull' the mean towards themselves. Instead, the median and the interquartile range would be better representations for drawing a comparison because the outliers don't affect them. Just to make sure that the distribution was not normal, even though it wasn't symmetrical, and to back up my analysis, I decided to work out the standard deviation of the data set to see whether the data fitted the criteria for normal distribution i.e. ...read more.


* On average, the sports articles of The Daily Mirror were the 'most readable'. * The Times had the greatest range of sentence readability, which meant that it had the greatest mixture or variance of sentence readability of the sentences in its sports articles. However, The Times had the least readable sports section. * The Daily Mirror had quite a good range of sentences in its sports articles as its interquartile range was only very slightly smaller than that of The Times. * The readability of the sentences in the sports articles in The Sun didn't vary as much as those of The Times and The Daily Mirror. This means that there were a greater number of sentences with similar readability in The Sun than in the other two newspapers. * Average refers to the Flesch Reading Ease scores of the median sentences in my data set for each of the three newspapers. This is what I used to reach my analysis. Practical problems These are some of the practical problems I encountered during the investigations and how I tackled them: Problem How I tackled the problem When measuring the area of some of the articles during the data collection process, I found that an article sometimes had the text 'bled' around an image, which made it difficult for measuring areas. This is an example. I roughly estimated a more 'square' area for the text. Because I had been conducting this investigation over a period of several weeks, the newspapers were slightly ripped and torn in places, which sometimes made it difficult during the data collection, as I could not fully highlight sentences because there were parts of words missing etc. Luckily, the ripping and tearing was not too bad and I could safely guess which words were missing because there wasn't a case where there was an entire word missing. The original numbers obtained during my sampling process would have been complicated and lengthy to work with. I rounded them to a convenient and appropriate accuracy, and have stated the accuracy in each case. ...read more.

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