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N EWSFLASH ! I S THE NEWS ACCURATE ? Laura Jennings and Timina Liu Year 11 Burgmann Anglican School

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Aim: To determine the probability of errors on each page of a newspaper using the Poisson Distribution. Hypothesis: It is expected that there will be less than 5 errors on average on a page of a newspaper Materials: 3 newspapers of the same publisher Pen Excel

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Method: 1. All the materials were gathered. 2. The first 10 pages with articles in a newspaper were carefully checked for spelling, grammatical and formatting errors. All errors were circled with a pen. 3. The number of errors on each of the pages were recorded, with their relative frequency calculated, plotted and fitted by a Poisson Distribution. 4. Steps 2 and 3 were repeated for the other 2 newspapers.

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Discussion The general trend of the results has fitted well. The probabilities provide useful information on the number of errors in the newspapers. There are a small number of inconsistencies between the relative frequencies and the probability curve. However, they can be fixed. More pages for counts for the 3 newspapers can be used in the analysis. Further comparison could have been made between the different sections in the newspapers.

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Conclusion The results support our hypothesis. For the majority of the results, the curve peaks at 3 to 5 errors per page. It is clear that it is rare to have no errors or to have more than 10 errors per page. Newspaper 3 has the smallest average of errors and is therefore better than the other two newspapers for the period of data collection.

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