Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sociology students struggle to prove hypothesis about memes

Max Charney
Staff Writer

Mrs. Anderson’s Sociology classes recently took part in the annual “Applying Social Science Research” Project. The students were to research a problem that faces young people in America and how it affects those in New Hope-Solebury High School.
  One team of researchers, Joshua Searle, Quinn Reinert, and Max Charney, decided to focus their research on memes, or “an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.”
  “We were very curious to see if any type of correlation existed between the time one spends looking at memes in a given week and their average GPA, as the relationship was likely to reflect on our own meme-frequenting lifestyles,” wrote the team in their formal essay, Meme Consumption and GPA.
  After asking questions like, “How might either gender or grades be affected by memes?” The team came up with their hypothesis, that male high school students have worse grades than female high school students because they generally spend more time browsing memes.
  The team focused on the relationship between a student’s GPA and the time they spend browsing memes. They also considered variables such as gender, grade level, and extra-curricular involvement.
  After forming this hypothesis, the team developed a series of questions for their survey that would accurately determine the the relationship between meme browsing, gender, and a student’s GPA. The survey asked the gender of the participate, their grade level, about how many hours they spend browsing memes weekly, what websites/sources they use, an estimate of their GPA, how much time they spend studying and or doing homework, and a list hobbies/daily activities. The surveys are completely anonymous, and are sent out randomly to students. Only fifteen surveys are sent out per team’s study.
  But, when the surveys were returned, the team discovered that all but three of the surveys were completed by males, and four were unfinished. This proved to be a problem for the team; they hadn;t gathered enough surveys to properly find correlations or draw conclusions from the data.
  However, it was determined that those with a higher GPA do not browse memes for more than an hour, or even at all. Most female respondents did not know what a meme was. This data partially supported their hypothesis. Within the limited data collected, the average time browsing memes was higher for boys, and the average GPA was lower for boys.

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