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The National Student Research Center

E-Journal of Student Research: Social Studies

Volume 6, Number 3, July, 1998


The National Student Research Center is dedicated to promoting student research and the use of the scientific method in all subject areas across the curriculum, especially science and math.

 

For more information contact:

John I. Swang, Ph.D.
Founder/Director
National Student Research Center
2024 Livingston Street
Mandeville, Louisiana 70448
U.S.A.
E-Mail: nsrcmms@communique.net
http://youth.net/nsrc/nsrc.html



TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. A Student Survey About Cold and Flu Epidemics In Schools
  2. Favorite Magazines of Fourth and Fifth Graders At Dawson School
  3. What Students Know And Feel About AIDS
  4. What Do Students Know And Feel About Air Pollution?
  5. Student Knowledge Of The Extinction And Endangerment Of Animals
  6. Computers, Modems and the Internet
  

TITLE:  A Student Survey About Cold and Flu Epidemics In Schools

STUDENT RESEARCHERS:  Chris Chugden, Amber French, James Rees,
                      and  Whitney Stoppel 

SCHOOL:  Mandeville Middle School
         Mandeville, Louisiana
GRADE:  6
TEACHER:  John I. Swang, Ph.D.

I.  STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND HYPOTHESIS:

We would like to do a survey research project on what students 
know about cold and flu epidemics in schools.  We would also 
like to find out about students behavior at school which might 
expose them to germ that could make them sick.  We are concerned 
about this problem in our community's schools.  

Our hypothesis states that the majority of students will be at a 
high risk of getting sick because of their behavior at school.

II.  METHODOLOGY:

First, we identified a problem within our community which was 
viral epidemics in schools during the cold and flu season.  Then 
we developed a statement of purpose.  Next, we wrote a review of 
literature about epidemiology, viruses, the common cold, 
influenza, diseases, and public health.  Then we interviewed 
numerous community health professionals and school officials 
about viral epidemics in schools (the St. Tammany Parish School 
Board School nurses, the St. Tammany Parish School Board Census 
Department, the St. Tammany Parish Health Unit, and the St. 
Tammany Parish Hospital Health Education Program).  From the 
information we gathered, we developed our hypothesis and a 
methodology for testing our hypothesis.  Next, we constructed 
our questionnaire on the students' knowledge and experiences 
with cold and flu epidemics in school.  Then we handed out the 
questionnaire to 117 randomly chosen 4th, 5th, and 6th grade 
students at Mandeville Middle School in Mandeville, Louisiana, 
USA.  Then we put it out on the Internet for students around the 
district, state, nation, and world to complete.  After the 
completed questionnaires were returned, we scored them and 
recorded the data on a data collection form.  After that, we 
analyzed our data using simple statistics, charts and graphs.  
Then we wrote our summary and conclusion where we accepted or 
rejected our hypothesis.  Finally, we applied our findings to 
our school environment.

VIII.  ANALYSIS OF DATA:

A total of 1,801 students in grades 2 through 12 from 
California, Louisiana, Virginia, Illinois, Washington, DC, 
Mississippi, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Georgia, Washington, Iowa, 
Vermont, Massachusetts, Texas, Kentucky, Montana, New York, 
Nebraska, Michigan, Oregon, Kansas, Florida, Australia, New 
Zealand, and Brazil responded to our questionnaire.

A majority of 86% of the students responding to our 
questionnaire reported that lots of students at their schools 
get sick during the cold and flu seasons.  A majority of 82% 
reported that they usually catch a cold or the flu from someone 
at school.   

At Risk Behavior

A majority of 62% reported that they usually do not use soap 
when they wash their hands at school.  A majority of 80% 
reported that they usually don't wash their hands with soap 
before they eat lunch at school.  A majority of 93% reported 
that they usually don't wash their hands with soap before they 
eat a snack at school.  A majority of 62% reported that they 
usually share a drink with a friend at school by drinking out of 
the same bottle, cup, glass, or can.  A majority of 81% reported 
that they usually share snacks with their friends at school by 
eating out of the same bag or container.  A majority of 78% 
reported that they usually chew on their pencil, pen, or finger 
nails during class while at school.  A majority of 58% reported 
that they usually don't stay away from their friends if they 
come to school sick.  A majority of 87% reported that they 
usually lick their fingers after they have eaten a snack.  A 
majority of 72% believe that everyone picks their nose with 
their fingers at one time or another.  A majority of 73% believe 
everyone picks their teeth with their fingers at one time or 
another.  A majority of 61% reported that their teachers usually 
do not keep their classrooms ventilated by opening a window or a 
door during the day.  A majority of 73% reported that their 
classrooms usually get hot and stuffy in the winter time.  A 
small majority of 51% reported that they stay home from school 
when they are sick with a cold or the flu, but a majority of 54% 
also reported that their parents usually make them go to school 
when they have a cold or the flu.  

Healthy Behavior

A majority of 78% reported that they cover their mouth and nose 
when they sneeze or cough.  A majority of 76% reported that they 
usually don't share the same plate, fork, knife, or spoon when 
eating with their friends at school.  A small majority of 51% 
reported that their mouth or cheek doesn't usually touch the 
water fountain at school when they are getting a drink because 
the water does not come out strong enough.  A majority of 57% 
reported that other students rarely cough or sneeze on them at 
school.           

Factual Questions

A majority of 61% of the students did not know that colds and 
the flu are caused by viruses.  A majority of 85% knew that they 
can reduce the spread of germs by covering their nose and mouth 
when they cough or sneeze, washing their hands frequently, and 
keeping their fingers, pencils, etc. out of their nose and 
mouth.  A majority of 70% knew that touching phones, computer 
keyboards, library books, door knobs, desks, toilet flush 
handles, and chairs at school is a good way to contaminate their 
hands with germs that can make them sick.   

Designer Health Mask

A majority of 60% reported that they would NOT be willing to 
wear their very own Designer Health Mask at school during the 
cold and flu season.

IX.  SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION:

A total of 1,801 students from our school district and around 
the world responded to our questionnaire.

A majority of students do not use soap to wash their hands at 
school before eating lunch and snacks.  They share snacks out of 
the same bag and drink out of the same container with friends.  
They do not stay away from their friends when they come to 
school sick.  They chew on pencils, pens, and finger nails in 
class and lick their fingers after eating snacks.  They also 
believe that students pick their teeth and nose with their 
fingers.  

A majority of students report that they, and lots of other 
students, get sick at school during cold and flu seasons.  They 
try to stay home when they are sick, but their parents sometimes 
send them to school even though they are ill.  Their classrooms 
are not usually ventilated by their teacher and get hot and 
stuffy during the winter.

A majority would not be willing to wear a Designer Health Mask.  
Students in the lower grades tend to be more willing to wear the 
Designer Health Mask than students in the middle and upper 
grades.  This finding clearly demonstrates how important a 
health training program for the students' is.  Students must be 
educated about how a Designer Health Mask can help keep them 
well during the cold and flu season.

Finally, 83% of the students who responded to our questionnaire 
reported that they usually catch a cold or the flu from someone 
at school.  Therefore, we accept our hypothesis which stated 
that the majority of students will be at a high risk of getting 
sick because of their behavior at school.

X.  APPLICATION:

Now we know what behaviors and experiences students have at 
school that can expose them to germs which could cause them to 
get sick.  We can apply this to our school environment by 
starting a program that would get students in schools to change 
their behavior and to wear Designer Health Masks during the cold 
and flu season.  

We will distribute surgical masks to students and show them how 
to create  fashionable health masks decorated with art work of 
their choice.  This will hopefully motivate students to wear the 
masks during the flu and cold season.  

We will also produce an instructional video which will inform 
students about the different ways that they can help protect 
themselves from getting colds and the flu such as washing their 
hands, keeping thing like pencils and fingers out of their nose 
and mouth, not sharing eating utensils, not drinking out of the 
same can, cup, or bottle, covering their nose and mouth with 
their arm when they cough or sneeze,  ventilating their 
classroom, staying away from sick students, and staying home 
when they are sick so no one else will get infected from their 
illness. 



TITLE:  Favorite Magazines of Fourth and Fifth Graders At Dawson
        School

STUDENT RESEARCHERS:  Adam Peters and Joey Politz
SCHOOL ADDRESS:  Dawson Elementary School
                 Holden, Massachusetts
                 Wayne_Boisselle@mail.wachusett-rhs.k12.ma.us
GRADE:  5
TEACHER:  Wayne Boisselle,  M.  Ed.

I.  STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND HYPOTHESIS:

We want to know which magazine is most liked by students in the 
fourth and fifth grade at Dawson School.  Our hypothesis states 
that Sports Illustrated for Kids will be the most liked and 
Disney Adventures will be liked the least. 

II.  METHODOLOGY:

First, we wrote our statement of purpose and reviewed the 
literature.  Next, we developed our hypothesis and created our 
questionnaire.  Then we sent out 200 questionnaires to all the 
fourth and fifth grade students at Dawson School.  As our 
questionnaires came back to us, we scored them and analyzed our 
data into a graph.  We then wrote our summary and conclusion and 
applied our data to the real world.

III.  ANALYSIS OF DATA:

Out of the 200 questionnaires we sent out, 133 were sent back.  
From those 133, Sports Illustrated for Kids had a total of 53 
votes, Disney Adventures had 6 votes, Nintendo Power had 17 
votes, Boy's Life had 7 votes, Girls Life had 20 votes, and 
Nickelodeon had 36 votes.

IV.  SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION:

Sports Illustrated for Kids was liked the most and Disney 
Adventures was liked the least.  Therefore, we accept our 
hypothesis which stated that Sports Illustrated for Kids would 
be liked the most and Disney Adventures would be liked the 
least.

V.  APPLICATION:

We could use this information to let the principal know what 
magazines to use if we ever have a magazine sale.  We could also 
use this information to let the librarian know what kind of 
magazines she should stock up on during the school year.



TITLE:  What Students Know And Feel About AIDS

STUDENT RESEARCHER:  Adam Osborn
SCHOOL:  Mandeville Middle School
         Mandeville, Louisiana
GRADE:  6
TEACHER:  John I. Swang, Ph.D.

I.  STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND HYPOTHESIS:

I would like to do a survey research project to find out what 
students know and feel about AIDS.  My hypothesis states that 
the majority of the responses to the factual questions about 
AIDS on the questionnaire will be answered correctly.

II.  METHODOLOGY:

First, I chose a topic.  Then I wrote my statement of purpose.  
Next, I wrote my review of the literature about AIDS, HIV, 
viruses, and T-cell.  Next, I wrote my hypothesis.  After that I 
developed my methodology to test my hypothesis.  Then I 
developed my questionnaire and sent it out on the Internet and 
to thirteen randomly chosen sixth grade students at Mandeville 
Middle School in Mandeville, Louisiana.  Then I collected the 
completed questionnaires, scored them, and recorded my data on 
my data collection sheet.  Last, I conducted my analysis of 
data, wrote my summary and conclusion, and applied my finding to 
the world outside the classroom.

III.  ANALYSIS OF DATA:

My data show that half the students that were surveyed knew that 
AIDS is not the name of the virus that causes the Acquired 
Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

My data show that a majority of 70% of the students knew that 
there are several different strains of the AIDS virus.

My data show that half the students knew that there is no cure 
for AIDS. 

My data show that a majority of 60% of the students did not know 
that AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

My data show that a majority of 60% of the students knew that 
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

My data show that a majority of 70% of the students knew that 
AIDS is a disease which includes the following symptoms: 
vulnerability to fatal diseases, enlarged lymph glands, slight 
fever shortly after infection, loss of weight, tiredness, and 
night sweats.

My data show that a majority of 60% of the students knew that 
more than 8.4 million people world-wide have AIDS.

My data show that a majority of 90% of the students knew that 
HIV can be transmitted from a mother to her unborn baby, by use 
of dirty needles by drug users, and by contact with infected 
blood.

My data show that a majority of 70% of the students did not know 
that the most effective treatment for AIDS is a combination of 
three or more recent drugs.

My data show that a majority of 60% of the students did not know 
that the fastest growing population of new AIDS cases is high 
school and college students.

My data show that half of the students thought that the 
government should quarantine or isolate all HIV infected people 
to one place so that the virus won't spread.

My data show that all of the students thought that the 
government should put more effort and money into finding a cure 
for AIDS.

My data show that half of the students think that they know how 
to protect themselves from getting AIDS.

My data show that a majority of 60% of the students knew that it 
may take two to twelve years after being infected with HIV to 
develop symptoms.

My data show that a majority of 70% of the students did not know 
that the first case of HIV was diagnosed in 1981.

My data show that half of the students knew that HIV originated 
in Africa.

IV.  SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION:

My data show that many of the students knew the basic facts 
about AIDS and HIV, but did not know many details or statistics 
about the disease.  A majority of the responses to the factual 
questions on the AIDS/HIV questionnaire were answered correctly.  
My data also show that the students surveyed feel that the virus 
should be stopped at almost all costs and that they feel that 
they are fairly safe from it.  Therefore, I accept my 
hypothesis, which states that the majority of the responses to 
the factual questions about AIDS on the questionnaire will be 
answered correctly.

V.  APPLICATION:

I can apply my findings to the world outside the classroom by 
telling the senator for our state that many students feel that 
the government should do more to cure or isolate HIV.  I could 
also tell the school board that more about AIDS and HIV should 
be taught in schools.



TITLE:  What Do Students Know And Feel About Air Pollution?

STUDENT RESEARCHER:  Christine O'Rourke and James Rees
SCHOOL:  Mandeville Middle School
         Mandeville, Louisiana
GRADE:  6
TEACHER:  John I. Swang, Ph.D.

I.  STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND HYPOTHESIS:

We would like to do a survey research project to find out what 
students know and feel about air pollution.  Our hypothesis 
states that the majority of the responses to the factual 
questions about air pollution on the questionnaire will be 
answered correctly.

II.  METHODOLOGY:

First, we found a topic.  Then we wrote a statement of purpose.  
After that we wrote a review of literature about air pollution, 
the causes and prevention of air pollution, deforestation, 
fossil fuels, and carbon dioxide.  Then we wrote a hypothesis.

We then designed a methodology and developed a questionnaire to 
test our hypothesis.  Next, we randomly choose 26 students from 
Mandeville Middle School in Mandeville, Louisiana and passed out 
the questionnaire to the students.  Then we sent the 
questionnaire out on the Internet to students around the world.  
After the completed questionnaires were returned, we scored them 
and tallied the replies.  Then we conducted an analysis of data, 
and wrote a summary and conclusion where we accepted or rejected 
our hypothesis.  Finally, we applied our findings to the world 
outside the classroom.    

III.  ANALYSIS OF DATA:

A majority of 64% of the students responding to the 
questionnaire knew that air pollution was worst around cities.  
A majority of 55% did nor know that 70% of all air pollution 
comes from motor vehicles.  A majority of 64% knew that small 
particles such as soot and dust are known as particulate matter.  
A majority of 82% thought that air pollution is an important 
global issue.  A majority of 82% knew that particulate matter 
may cause breathing difficulties and respiratory pain.  A 
majority of 55% did not think that air pollution was a serious 
problem in their community.  A majority of 73% thought that gas 
powered cars should be replaced with electrical or solar powered 
cars.  A majority of 100% knew that riding your bike is better 
for the air then driving your car.  A majority of 91% knew that 
carbon monoxide in the air increases the risk of heart disease.  
A majority of 82% knew that air pollution affects plants by 
killing them or stunting their growth.  A majority of 91% agreed 
that factories should reduce the amount of fossil fuels they 
burn.  A majority of 64% knew that extra carbon dioxide in the 
air from vehicles and factories traps extra heat in the 
atmosphere and is the cause of global warming.  A majority of 
73% did not know that a thermal inversion happens when a warm 
layer of air is trapped under a bubble of air pollution.  A 
majority of 80% knew that the Clean Air Act of 1967 is the legal 
basis for the control of air pollution in the United States.  A 
majority of 73% knew that acid rain happens when air pollutants 
mix with rain, snow, or other precipitation.  A majority of 70% 
did not know that carbon dioxide, particulate matter, nitrogen 
oxide, and CFC's are all major air pollutants.  A majority of 
80% knew that air pollution is the contamination of the 
atmosphere by gaseous, liquid, or solid hazardous wastes.  A 
majority of 64% did not know that the releasing of toxic wastes 
into the air that burns holes in the upper atmosphere is also 
known as ozone depletion.

IV.  SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION:

We found in this project that 66% of the total responses to the 
factual questions were answered correctly.  Therefore we accept 
our hypothesis which stated that a majority of the responses to 
the factual questions about air pollution on the questionnaire 
would be answered correctly.
                                                                                       
V.  APPLICATION:

We can apply this to the world outside of our classroom by 
telling people that more laws should be passed to help prevent 
air pollution.  Even though we will not be able to restore the 
earth's atmosphere to the way it was originally, we can all do 
our share and help to stop polluting the air even more. 



TITLE:  Student Knowledge Of The Extinction And Endangerment Of
        Animals

STUDENT RESEARCHERS:  John Casey and Alex Manuel  
SCHOOL:  Mandeville Middle School
         Mandeville, Louisiana
GRADE:  6
TEACHER:  John I. Swang, Ph.D.

I.  STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND HYPOTHESIS: 

We would like to do a survey research project on student 
knowledge about endangered and extinct animals.  Our hypothesis 
states that the majority of the responses to the factual 
questions on the questionnaire will be correct.

II.  METHODOLOGY:

First, we chose our topic.  Then we wrote our statement of 
purpose.  After that, we wrote our review of literature about 
endangered animals, tigers, lions, pandas, eagles, pollution, 
poaching, natural habitat, and causes and prevention of 
endangerment and extinction.  Then we developed a hypothesis.  

Next we wrote a questionnaire using the information from the 
review of literature.  Then we handed it out to 26 randomly 
chosen students from 13 different sixth grade classes at 
Mandeville Middle School in Mandeville, Louisiana and sent it 
out on the Internet.  

When completed and returned, we scored the questionnaires and 
tallied the responses onto a data collection sheet and analyzed 
the information using simple statistics, charts, and graphs.  
Then we conducted an analysis of data and wrote a summary and 
conclusion.  Last, we applied our findings to the world outside 
the classroom.

III.  ANALYSIS OF DATA: 

All of the students surveyed knew that extinct means that a 
species of animal is no longer around.  A majority of 72% of the 
students knew that the Siberian Tiger, Humpback Whale, and the 
Panda are endangered.  A majority of 75% knew that the leading 
cause of extinction is destruction of habitat.  A majority of 
72% did not know that the Giant Panda is endangered because it's 
main food supply, bamboo, is being destroyed.  A majority of 80% 
knew that endangered means a species of animal is low in 
population.  A majority of 59% knew that there are about 490 
tigers in zoos today.  A majority of 96% knew that there are 
laws to protect endangered animals.  A majority of 92% disagreed 
that it is okay to destroy the habitats of endangered animals to 
meet the needs of people.  A majority of 96% felt that 
governments should have harsher punishments for poachers.  A 
majority of 92% thought that endangered animals should be 
protected at all costs.  A majority of 76% said that they are 
willing to do all that they can to help endangered animals.  A 
majority of 73% of the responses to the factual questions on our 
questionnaire were correct.

IV.  SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION:

A majority of the students agreed that governments should have 
harsher punishments for poachers, endangered animals should be 
protected at all costs, and they are willing to do all they can 
to help endangered animals.  A majority of the students 
disagreed that it is okay to destroy endangered animals' 
habitats to meet the needs of people.   A majority of 73% of the 
responses to the factual questions on our questionnaire were 
correct.  Therefore, we accept our hypothesis which stated that 
the majority of the responses to the factual questions on our 
questionnaire will be correct.

V.  APPLICATION:

We could use our findings in the world outside the classroom by 
taking the information that students didn't know as well and 
using it to teach kids and grown-ups alike the facts on 
endangered animals.  Our country and community leaders could 
also use the opinions of the students to make decisions about 
endangered species and human economic development.



Title:  Computers, Modems and the Internet

Student Researcher:  Corey Brennan
School:  Weber Elementary
         Iowa City, Iowa
Grade:  6
Teacher:  Chris Rohret

I.  Statement of Purpose and Hypothesis:

The purpose of my survey is to find out about who owns 
computers, modems and has access to the World Wide Web (the 
Internet).  I'm trying to find out if people have these things 
and how they like them.  If they don't have one or more of these 
things, I am also trying to find out if they want them.  My 
hypothesis states that almost all people I survey will have a 
computer in their home, about half of them will have modems, and 
most people who have modems will have access to the Internet.

II.  Methodology:

First, I gathered background information about computer 
ownership and peoples' feelings about their computers.  I 
designed a survey based on what I had learned from my sources.  
I then randomly selected and surveyed 50 students each from Team 
3 and Team 4 (3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th graders) at Weber 
Elementary.  When I received 81 of my 100 surveys, I tallied my 
information, drew my graphs, and wrote my abstract.

III.  Analysis of Data:

Amazingly, 94% of all students surveyed owned a computer of some 
sort, Macintosh being the most frequently owned computer.  Most 
people liked the performance of their computer enough to keep 
the same one.  A majority of students surveyed spent about one 
to two hours a day on their computer.  A majority of 82% of the 
students who had a computer had modems also had Netscape, the 
most popular browser.  Most people who didn't have a computer, a 
modem, or the Internet wanted them.

IV.  Summary and Conclusion:

A large majority of students own a computer and have a modem.  
Most of the people who had modems also had access to the 
Internet and used the Netscape browser.  Therefore, I accept my 
hypothesis which stated that almost all the people I survey will 
have a computer in their home, about half of them will have 
modems, and most people who have modems will have access to the 
Internet.  More computer owners have modems than I originally 
thought.

V.  Application:

I chose this survey mainly because I had an interest in 
computers.  I also chose this topic because our family was 
interested in getting Internet access and were debating what 
browser to use.  In the results of my survey, I discovered that 
Netscape was a very popular browser, so that's the browser we 
ended up getting.  I hope that these survey results will help 
other people make computer related decisions.

© 1998 John I. Swang, Ph.D.



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