Questionnaire Poster

Jackie Malish and Thanh Phang


Does gender affect how many notebooks are carried in a backpack for school?

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If males and females are questioned on how many notebooks they carry in their backpacks, then females will carry more notebooks.

Type of Investigation

This experiment was a comparative investigation.

Parts of the Experiment

Independent: Gender

Dependent: The number of notebooks the gender carries

Control: N/A

Experimental Group: Male and female students

Data Table

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Bar Graphs

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Gender does not significantly affect how many notebooks are carried in a student’s backpack. The mean for males was 4.30, while the mean for females was 3.73. But from interpreting the first graph, the 2SEM error bar lines for each gender largely overlap, meaning the data is not significantly different. Interpreting the second graph, the median for males is again slightly higher at a value of 5, while females were at a value of 4. But the range for each gender was the same—between 1 and 6. Both males and females reported as few as one notebook, or as many as six; there were no outliers in one gender of the other. In further data calculations, the p value resulting from the t-test was .20. This value is higher than the .05 standard which provides further evidence that the data was common between each gender.

The University of Georgia published research in January of 2013 citing girls outperforming boys as early as elementary school because teachers acknowledge factors such as the “child's attentiveness, task persistence, eagerness to learn, learning independence, flexibility” and lastly, “organization.” With this in mind, we formulated our hypothesis. But while the experiment was testing gender, it is important to acknowledge the type of students tested; students from an AP Biology class. Other students in the class conducted questionnaires on “gender compared to how many AP classes enrolled.” While the numbers ranged usually from 2 to 5, rigorous classes require an organization system to be successful. And as high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors, these test students have had a year or more to figure out the most successful organization method for high school. The New York Times published an article and interview in 2008 with California tutor, Ana Homayoun of Green Ivy Educational Consulting. She works with students struggling in their core classes or with college planning. Upon examining new student’s backpacks, they often lack organization. To pinpoint the issue for a difficult class she firsts asks “to see the binder, and it would always be the messiest.” With students who are already academic, organization techniques can vary, but there is usually a system in place.


Our original hypothesis was inaccurate. While the females were expected to have more notebooks and males to have fewer, our data suggested males carry more notebooks. But overall there was not a significant difference or pattern between either gender. From the responses and analysis, our question generated a null outcome.

Sources of Error

Potential sources of error could stem from the fact that we did not have equal numbers of male and female responses. There were 15 female responses, but only 10 male responses recorded. If given the opportunity, we would repeat the experiment with 13 female responses and 13 male responses. Because the female mean included more numbers, it could be more accurate than the male mean.

As mentioned in the analysis, the type of student greatly influences how many notebooks carried. Because our sample was only from a single AP Biology class, the number of notebooks could be exaggerated compared to the data taken from a Pre-AP or regular biology.


Backpack. McLean High School Newspaper, Virginia. The Highlander News. Web. 3 Sept. 2014.

Finder, Alan. "Giving Disorganized Boys the Tools for Success and Multitasking." Education. The New York Times, 1 Jan. 2008. Web. 4 Sept. 2014. <>.

"Green Ivy FAQ." Green Ivy Educational Consulting. Web. 4 Sept. 2014. <>.

Weeks, Matt. "UGA Today." New UGA research helps explain why girls do better in school. University of Georgia, 2 Jan. 2013. Web. 4 Sept. 2014. <>.