Bringing It Together: Homework


Seven hundred and seventy-one distance learning students at Long Beach City College responded to surveys in the 2010–11 academic year. Highlights of the summary report are listed in Table 1.43.

Have computer at home 96%
Unable to come to campus for classes 65%
Age 41 or over 24%
Would like LBCC to offer more DL courses 95%
Took DL classes due to a disability 17%
Live at least 16 miles from campus 13%
Took DL courses to fulfill transfer requirements 71%
Table 1.43 LBCC Distance Learning Survey Results
  1. What percent of the students surveyed do not have a computer at home?
  2. About how many students in the survey live at least 16 miles from campus?
  3. If the same survey were done at Great Basin College in Elko, Nevada, do you think the percentages would be the same? Why?

Several online textbook retailers advertise that they have lower prices than on-campus bookstores. However, an important factor is whether the Internet retailers actually have the textbooks that students need in stock. Students need to be able to get textbooks promptly at the beginning of the college term. If the book is not available, then a student would not be able to get the textbook at all, or might get a delayed delivery if the book is back ordered.

A college newspaper reporter is investigating textbook availability at online retailers. He decides to investigate one textbook for each of the following seven subjects: calculus, biology, chemistry, physics, statistics, geology, and general engineering. He consults textbook industry sales data and selects the most popular nationally used textbook in each of these subjects. He visits websites for a random sample of major online textbook sellers and looks up each of these seven textbooks to see if they are available in stock for quick delivery through these retailers. Based on his investigation, he writes an article in which he draws conclusions about the overall availability of all college textbooks through online textbook retailers.

Write an analysis of his study that addresses the following issues: Is his sample representative of the population of all college textbooks? Explain why or why not. Describe some possible sources of bias in this study, and how it might affect the results of the study. Give some suggestions about what could be done to improve the study.