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Romance of Electromagnetic Waves


5-2 Statistical analysis

1. Motive and aim
We hope to understand the promotion effectiveness in the school through questionnaire survey. Therefore, Cyberfair project team members make use of spare time to brainstorm the following items and understand students’ understanding of this thematic research in the school through online survey.


2. Discussion process
We were quite excited to receive the questionnaires and we were looking forward to students’ answers. We discussed 4-5 items respectively in groups of 4 students. Some students laughed and some of them shook their heads when they examined the answers, and they were thinking about why students had so ridiculous answers. Thus, we began to think whether our items had been set correctly, whether the item meanings were ambiguous to cause students’ wrong answers or whether we were hasty to make a presentation on the stage and the barrier passing time was too short, so they didn’t absorb relevant knowledge. We ever doubted whether our research ability is insufficient and students’ cognition is different. During the process, we had many doubts and the tutors gave us their opinions, so we gradually clarified the analysis results through constant discussion. Knowing everyone’s ideas by means of questionnaire survey can make us understand the areas needed to be improved in this promotion campaign. It is hoped that we can do it better next time through these hardships.


3. Analysis for statistical results
We designed the items through online questionnaire at Google DOC and then requested computer teachers to spend 10 minutes in helping us do the questionnaire survey in the class. There are totally 639 students in Grade 5 and Grade 6 participating in this questionnaire. Our statistical results are shown as below:


In this survey, there are totally 416 students in Grade 5 and 223 students in Grade 6 participating in online questionnaire survey. We choose students in Grade 5 and Grade 6 instead of those from Grade 1 to Grade 4 because we think that students in higher grades have better understanding ability and master more knowledge about nature science. Therefore, students in lower grades are not incorporated into the analysis objects.


In this survey, there are 609 male students and 302 female students. The census method is applied to do the online questionnaire survey, so there is smaller difference in male and female ratio. Roughly, males account for 52.7% and females account for 47.3% of the total students, and small gap exists in male and female ratio.

Q1:Will the electromagnetic wave produced by household electrical appliances damage cellular elements?

Result: 451 students say Yes while 188 students say No.


Analysis: According to the data, most students in Grade 5 and Grade 6 think that the electromagnetic wave produced by household electrical appliances will damage cellular elements while only 30% students think that the electromagnetic wave produced by household electrical appliances will not damage cells. It may be caused by the news that media universally report the effect of electromagnetic wave on human body. Students know the microwave oven, induction cooker and other electrical appliances will emit electromagnetic wave, but they have no deeper understanding of electromagnetic wave and are strange to electromagnetic wave. In fact, the electromagnetic wave of electrical appliances is non-ionizing radiation. As indicated by the research of WHO, it cannot prove that electromagnetic wave is the cancerigenic factor for lack of evidence. Therefore, government should actively advocate the populace to further understand electromagnetic wave!

Q2:May the electromagnetic wave affect human health?

Result: 448 students say Yes, 27 students say No, and 164 students give an uncertain answers.


Analysis: WHO has done many researches and the final conclusion is “the electromagnetic wave may or may not affect human health”. The questionnaire results show that most students generally believe that electromagnetic wave will affect human health, which may be affected by network or media reporting. Meanwhile, the government has not actively promoted the knowledge and information in the aspect of electromagnetic wave, so people may have the wrong concepts.

Q3:Which answer listed below is wrong?

Result: 415 students choose “taking more exercise”, 88 students choose “keeping the distance”, 66 students choose “reducing the hours of use” and 70 students choose “pulling out the plug when it is not used”.

Analysis: the answer to this item is “taking more exercise” and 60% students give the correct answers. In fact, this item is very easy, but why 40% students give the wrong answers? We speculate that they may not see the item clearly--- “which answer listed below is wrong?”. During the previous activities of barrier passing, broadcasting and making a presentation, we have especially explained this part, and now we are happy that many students have established the correct concepts.

Q4:Will people living near the electromagnetic wave of base station be affected by electromagnetic wave?

Result: 581 students say Yes and 58 students say No.

Analysis: after our analysis, we have found that most students choose the answer of “they will be affected by electromagnetic wave”. Thus, it can be seen that students have the negative impression for the electromagnetic wave of base station. As long as people hear that base station will be built near their residence, they will definitely be strongly opposed to it! In fact, electromagnetic wave emitted by the current base station conforms to the safety specification. The effect of electromagnetic wave on human health declines for being obstructed by armored concrete and long distance. Nowadays, no scientific evidence can prove that radio frequency electromagnetic wave of base station will cause specific disease. However, our team’s advocacy direction does not emphasize the parts of mobile phones and base station. Therefore, the results in this questionnaire can be used as main points needing special attention for the future design of activities and teaching materials

Q5:Will the electromagnetic wave of base station cause environmental pollution?

Result: 403 students say Yes and 236 students say No.


Analysis: the correct answer to this item is that the electromagnetic wave of base station “will not” cause environmental pollution. According to the data, more than 60% students think that electromagnetic wave of base station will cause environmental pollution, or they think that electromagnetic wave is the same with radiation or nuclear energy to cause the pollution to our surrounding environment.

Q6:Which part of the hair dryer has the highest electromagnetic wave value?

Result: 106 students choose “the air outlet of hair drier”, 153 students choose “electric wire” and 380 students choose “motor winding”.

Analysis: the correct answer to this item is that electromagnetic wave value measured at “motor winding” is the highest. It can be known from the above chart that 60% students have known clearly that electromagnetic wave value emitted at motor winding of hair drier is the highest after our hard-working propaganda. Therefore, it shows that our propaganda work is effective. It is a pity that 40% students still have no clear idea of the knowledge of electromagnetic wave. The proportion of giving wrong answers is small, but those giving wrong answers might not listen to our interpretation carefully when we broadcast, make the presentation and make the actual measurement. However, we believe that we can achieve the better results as long as we continue our advocacy.

Q7:On average, which family electrical appliances has the highest value of electromagnetic waves?

Result: 244 students choose hair drier, 173 students choose refrigerator and 222 students choose television.


Analysis: the correct answer is “hair drier”because hair drier has more coils than other household electrical appliances. Although most students choose that electromagnetic wave value emitted by hair drier is the highest among all the household electrical appliances, 60% students give the wrong answer. Therefore, our team needs to pay more efforts in this part during the advocacy.

Q8:Which item is the most likely to cause cancer?

Result: 184 students choose French fries, 433 students choose electromagnetic wave of electrical tower, and 22 students choose coffee.

Analysis: the correct answer to this item is that “French fries” are the most likely to cause cancer. According to the chart above, nearly 70% students think that electromagnetic wave is the most likely to cause cancer, which shows that they have insufficient knowledge about the concepts related to electromagnetic wave and they are scared of it. It is worth mentioning that there are the relevant similar items in the reading and learning sheet, but such information is not mentioned in presentation, barrier passing and broadcasting activities. Thus, we speculate that the advocacy effect is not good by merely relying on reading activity. For better promotion effectiveness, we should hold more face-to-face or interesting activities.

Q9:How do you feel if there are high voltage towers or transformer stations near your home?

Analysis: we have made the comprehensive integration for the various opinions expressed by students and classified students’feelings into several categories:
1. Scare and worry
2. Anger and dislike
3. No worry and no feeling

Generally, most students choose “1. Scare and worry, 2. Anger and dislike” because they think that electromagnetic wave will cause cancer or affect physical health. Only a very few students choose “3. No worry and no feeling” because they think that they will not be affected. One of students gives the reason that "I can do nothing about it”, and such performance is relatively negative. Some examples are given as below:


Scare and worry:
* We are worried because there is something wrong with some people who live near the transformer station for a long time.
* We are worried about our family members for suffering from cancer.
* We are scared to cause cancer as they have heard that electromagnetic wave will cause cancer.


Anger and dislike:
* We are unhappy because it may cause cancer and damage the cells of human body.
* We dislike it because electromagnetic wave is hazardous to health.


No feeling:
* We have no feeling because we can do nothing about it.
* We have no feeling because we think it will not affect us.


4. Afterthoughts

After reading the questionnaires filled by students, we think that students’ concepts and knowledge for electromagnetic wave are seriously insufficient. Almost all their relevant information comes from media news or they may “hear of” and “speculate” the relevant information and network rumor. We hope that there will be more teaching websites, interactive media, television programs, teaching materials or “electromagnetic wave education center” where everyone can have a better understanding of electromagnetic wave and face the ubiquitous electromagnetic wave rationally and wisely.