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• Level: GCSE
• Subject: Maths
• Word count: 3147

# Maths Statistics Coursework on the Readability of a Tabloid Newspaper Compared to a Broadsheet

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Introduction

Maths Statistics Coursework on the Readability of a Tabloid Newspaper Compared to a Broadsheet

Introduction

A newspaper is a publication containing news, information and advertising, usually printed on low-cost paper called newsprint. It may be general or special interest, most often published daily or weekly.

A Broadsheet is a largest type of newspaper that is aimed at the more educated reader typically reporting on such stories to do with politics and typical thought of as ‘higer quality journalism’. It stereotypically appeals to a  older more educated reader due to its type of articles it reports on and due to the complexity of the language.  Whereas a Tabloid tends to be a smaller more compact newspaper reporting on more local interest stories and tends to emphasise sensational crime stories, gossip columns repeating scandalous innuendos about the personal lives of celebrities and sports stars, and other so-called “junk food news”. This is obvious that this type of newspaper will appeal to a less educated reader and are just looking to be entertained instead of informed about current affairs.

For this assignment I was asked to compare the readability of articles from two newspapers: a tabloid; and a broadsheet. I selected three pairs of articles each pair covering the same story. I selected the Daily Mail and The Times as my two newspapers.

Hypothesis

• The average word length in Broadsheets will be longer than Tabloids giving us an indication to the complexity of the language.
• There will be a bigger percentage of picture and title in an article in the Tabloid as it is designed to engage the stereotypical reader a Tabloid newspaper hopes for i.e. people who want to be entertained rather than informed about the news and would rather look at big pictures than read in detail about what happened.

Plan

To evaluate the readability I compared words from three articles from each newspaper. I selected three articles from the broadsheet then found the same three in a tabloid in order to make my evidence as reliable as possible. I will find one sport articles and two news articles that are covered in both papers. The two newspapers I compare will be of the same date to make the investigation as fair as possible. I will asses the readability of both papers by-

• Comparing the word lengths in each article of the first 100 words therefore giving us an indication of the complexity of the language and seeing which one has more, long words, giving us a hint at which one would be harder to read. I will take a cluster sample of the first 100 words as it is easier to take the first 100 as it takes less time that having to take a random sample every 7 words for example. I will take a sample of 100 words as it is a suitable percentage of the whole article and a good range of results that we can plot suitably on a bar chart.  I will display this data in a frequency table and then into a bar chart for each of the articles I will then use various other graphs to help prove my hypothesis. I will then work out the mean of the four articles in each paper at the end and display it in a bar chart for easy comparability between the two papers. I will then comment on the standard deviation and mean of both the graphs.
• I will also find out what percentage of the article is picture and title and what percentage is text by working out the area of the article that is covered in pictures and the title and then the area of the article that is covered in the actual text. This will hopefully show that the Tabloid newspaper has a larger percentage of its page devoted to its pictures and title than the Broadsheet again supporting my hypothesis that the less educated readers would rather have their news served up to them as entertainment. I will display this data in a table and then show my results in a pie chart for each pair of articles. I will then find the percentage of the three articles put together and display it in another pie chart which will make for easy comparability between the Tabloid and the Broadsheet.

Middle

1

7

2

14

2

11

3

15

∑f = 100

3

21

∑f = 100

4

11

∑fx = 518

4

13

∑fx = 478

5

10

∑fx² = 3341

5

7

∑fx² = 2941

6

11

Mean = 5.18

6

14

Mean = 4.78

7

15

Standard Deviation = 2.565

7

10

Standard Deviation = 2.562

8

11

8

10

9

4

9

3

10

3

10

2

11

2

11

2

12

0

12

0

This graph shows us that the Broadsheet article has less smaller words i.e. words containing 1 to 6 letters but more larger words i.e. 7 to 12 letter words than the Tabloid article. Also again similar to that of the first article the means might be close but again the Broadsheet’s is higher meaning on average that the Broadsheet had larger words, which is evident from the graphs. Unlike the first article these two articles have a much closer standard deviation but even so the Tabloid’s is smaller meaning that more of its words are closer to it mean of 4.78 and the Broadsheets words are more spread out.

Again this evidence supports my hypothesis as this article proves again that the Broadsheet has larger words due to its more complicated language and the Tabloid has smaller words due to its simpler language as it is aimed at the less educated reader.

Article 3- Alonzo’s Future Uncertain

 Broadsheet Tabloid Word length Frequency Word Length Frequency 1 1 1 2 2 16 2 15 3 22 3 24 4 11 ∑f = 100 4 14 ∑f = 100 5 12 ∑fx = 512 5 8 ∑fx = 502 6 14 ∑fx² = 3347 6 8 ∑fx² = 3349 7 11 Mean = 5.12 7 10 Mean = 5.02 8 5 Standard Deviation = 2.694 8 7 Standard Deviation = 2.879 9 4 9 3 10 6 10 1 11 2 11 4 12 0 12 3 13 1 13 1

Conclusion

In order to achieve more thorough results I would have liked to look at more articles in order to get a wider range of results making them more reliable as it is I only had enough time to assess three from each paper. Suitable extensions could have been to count the number of word in each article but you would have needed to get more articles for that as three is not enough in order to prove or disprove your hypothesis you would need a suitable sample size of about 30 articles out of each paper to assess that properly. Another very good extension could have been to compare the age of readers and the education of the readers as this would tie in neatly with the rest of your project as you can actually state who the newspaper is read by giving you an idea of the reading skills of those types of people and from that assessing the readability of the newspapers themselves.

From my results in this project I have proved my earlier hypothesis stating that the Tabloid is easier to read than the Broadsheet as it has less complex vocabulary and more pictures; causing the Tabloid to appeal to a younger reader or a less educated reader and a Broadsheet to appeal to an older more educated reader.

By Joe Sharp UVP

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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