I aim to compare mass-appeal tabloid newspapers and quality newspapers
by attempting to find statistical differences. To represent the
mass-appeal papers, I chose the Daily Mirror and for the text-quality
based newspapers, I chose the Times. Hopefully, there will be some
significant statistical differences in the style of journalism which I
will be able to comment on.
: I decided to choose similar pages from both the Times
and the Mirror with roughly equal numbers of paragraphs and adverts,
pages 4-5, or 4-6, as in the Mirror there were not enough to
take samples from. To find mean sentence lengths in the two papers, I
decided I would sample systematically from my populations, counting
the number of words in every 3rd sentence.
I came up on several
problems quickly – should I include headlines in my count? I decided
against it, as headlines tend to be shorter than normal sentences. The
next problem came with numbers – did they get counted as words in the
sentences? Making sure that I did the same with both papers, I decided
to exclude numbers in my count. I also decided to exclude any
sentences in adverts, as the number of adverts on the compared pages
varied. I then took a mean and found the of my
To find the average number of words per sentence, I decided to
‘cluster-sample’, and count the first 30 words in the first paragraph
of page 4 in each paper. I decided that I would again exclude numbers,
and that hyphenated words counted as a single word.
Again, when I
found all the data, I found its mean and the standard deviation.
Location: As can be seen from this box and whisker diagram, the Times
has a similar mean sentence length (20 to 1sf.) to the Mirror (18).
This shows that the average sentences in the Mirror and the Times
contain a similar number of words. In the box and whisker diagram for
word lengths, it is visible that their medians are the same.