I have just picked up my coursework in data handling. Its about 'shorter word lengths are used in magazines than newspapers'. I need some big help with this. My teacher is Dr.dolittle. He does not offer any advice or help in any topic nevermind the coursework. Can somebody help and advice please.
Im not 100% sure on how to do it but you could start by picking a short article from a magazine and one from a newspaper. Once you have these, create a tally chart and note down how many letters each word in the article has. You can then look at averages etc etc. However, choose your newspapers and magazines carefully. Broadsheets are likely to have longer words than tabloids. Its the same with magazines. Also, consider rejecting words such as names as these are constant in each version. Furthermore, if you have a magazine with a great deal of jargo in, the length of words may increase. Hope that helps a little bit or at lease gets you thinking.
Well of course you're thesis won't be very convinving if you only deal with one newspaper and one magazine. I'd suggest you need to take articles from at least three magazines and at least three newspapers. obviously the magazines/newspapers need to be aimed at different demographics. 'shorter word lengths are used in tabloids than broadsheets' would have been a better thesis, since three newspapers from each category immediately come to mind. for newspapers I would use The Sun, The Times, and The Guardian. magazines I'm not so sure about, though. whichever magazines/papers you use, you obviously need to justify your choice.
when analysing the articles I would only deal with verbs and adjectives... some nouns, perhaps, but as Helen said don't bother with names of any kind. also you should look at articles about similar topics... or at least similar lengths. make this last point clear in your coursework as it would be a huge flaw if you were comparing articles of significantly different sizes.
you will eventually want to calculate averages for the 3 different newspapers/magazines. before doing this, however, there should be some analysis. your conclusion will be geared towards proving the thesis, but you should at least point out any magazine articles that have longer word lengths than a newspaper article (there's bound to be one).
when you have the averages you should put the data in a culmulative frequency graph. this will show the range, median, upper and lower quartiles of both the average word length in a magazine article and the average word length in a newspaper article. it's also an idea to accompany any graphs you do with a box-and-whiskers diagram, to show the results a little clearer.
something I haven't mentioned is s.d. whenever you are analysing some results in your thesis you have nothing to lose by calculating the s.d.