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The John Hooper Medal for Statistics competition has yet again been a great success. Each year we are delighted with the number of entries received. This year the judging process was almost in jeopardy due to Covid-19, but thankfully we got there in the end. A huge thank you to the judges who found the time to judge under very difficult circumstances.

The tenth John Hooper Medal for Statistics competition was launched by Paul Morrin, Assistant Director General, Central Statistics Office on 22 October 2019. In all, 220 posters, both Irish and English language entries, were received. The posters were initially judged in two phases by teams from the CSO, according to detailed judging criteria. Fifteen posters were then shortlisted for the final judging phase. The final judging panel, chaired by Anthony Dawson, consisted of:

Kathleen O'Sullivan
Lecturer & Director of the Statistical Consultancy Unit
School of Mathematical Sciences
University College Cork

Dr. Kieran Murphy
Lecturer in Mathematics
Waterford Institute of Technology

Anthony Dawson
Central Statistics Office

Olive Loughnane
Central Statistics Office

The panel had a very difficult task to assess the shortlisted posters and pick the winners. The John Hooper Medal for Statistics 2020 prizes will be presented at an Awards Ceremony in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, on Tuesday 20 October 2020. Invitations will be issued at a later date.

The results of the judges’ deliberations are given below:

First prize and winners of the John Hooper Medal for Statistics

Students: Ruairí Lyons and Shane Whyte
Teacher: Meighan Duffy
Athlone Community College
Retreat Road
Co. Westmeath
Adolescents Perception of Barriers to Accessing Mental Health Servies (PDF 825KB)

Second prize

Students: Mizna Shahid and Zainib Shahid
Teacher: Brian Higgins
Loreto Balbriggan
Co. Dublin
Using Chitosan To Create a Biodegradable , Antimicrobial Plastic Alternative To Aid in the Reduction of Plastic Waste in Hospitals (PDF 1,964KB)

Third prize

Students: Peter McGuinness and Aodhan McGuinness
Teacher: Yvonne Nolan
Clongowes Wood College
Co. Kildare
Stopping Money from Distorting Competition in Professional Sports, A statistical analysis of the NFL Draft System as an Alternative Paradigm for Professional Sport (PDF 404KB)

Order of Merit

The following posters were given an order of merit by the judges:

Students: Erinn Leavy and Sophie McArdle
Teacher: John White
St. Vincent's Secondary School
Seatown Place
Co. Louth
An Analysis of Physiological and Running Metrics in 3K Cross Country Running in comparison to Track and Treadmill (PDF 1,075KB)

Students: Sean Coughlan, Mark Collins and Niamh Hudson
Teacher: Stephen McLaughlin
Bandon Grammar School
Co. Cork
A statistical Analysis on the Difference and Frequency of Injuries on Grass and 4G Pitches in Professional Rugby (PDF 451KB)

Students: Cliona O’Keeffe and Ciara Miesle
Teacher: Niamh Hegarty
Coláiste Muire
Co. Clare
Investigation Into the Correlation Between Inaccurate Media Consumption and Mental Health Stigma (PDF 601KB)

Students: Jack Browne, Daniel Brady and William McGibney
Teacher: Breeda Corcoran
St. Patrick's College
Co. Cavan
Screen Dreams - A Statistical Investigation Into the Lifestyle Effects of Excessive Screen Time Among Adolescents (PDF 289KB)

Students: Luke Johnston and Liam Glennon
Teacher: Michelle Kelly
St Finian's College
Co. Westmeath
Does Power Perform - An Analysis of the Relationship Between Power and Performance of Consumer CPUs (PDF 1,418KB)

Students: Gemma Coffey and Amelie Cojocaru
Teacher: Conor Maguire
Loreto College Foxrock
Co. Dublin                                                                                                                                                                                   

Is There a Correlation between the Number of Planets Discovered and Advancements in Technologies (PDF 880KB)   

Students: Shayne Carrara and Genie Davis
Teacher: Patricia McDonagh
Cork Educate Together Secondary School
Wellington Road
Co. Cork
Does Volcanic Activity in Iceland Make More Money for the Economy Through Tourism or Cost More Money From Damages Caused by Volcanoes (PDF 1,876KB)

Students: Sophie O'Sullivan, Grace Kodia and Hannah Cullen
Teacher: Niamh McNally
Loreto Balbriggan
Co. Dublin
Does Outdoor Learning Improve the Quality of Education (PDF 172KB)

Students: Ella Markey, Robyn Bagley & Ella Walsh
Teacher: Niamh Mc Nally
Loreto Balbriggan
Co. Dublin
Does Self Efficacy in Mathematical Ability Have an Effect on the Number of Women Pursuing STEM Careers (PDF 319KB)

Students: Eabha McLoughlin and Sinead Clarke
Teacher: Chloe White
Loreto Balbriggan
Co. Dublin
Do Some Insulin Pump Infusion Sites Have a Better Impact on Blood Glucose Levels or Movement and Confidence Levels In Teenagers (PDF 935KB)

Students: Rory Kilgariff, Donagh Claffey & Dylan Corcoran
Teachers: Patricia Forde and Aoife Quigley
Marist College
Co. Westmeath
The Future of Transport - Can Ireland Reach 936,000 Electric Vehicles by 2030 (PDF 9,238KB)

Students: Finnian Flynn, Ronan Griffin and Josh O'Dwyer
Teacher: Eileen Flanagan
Ardscoil Rís
North Circular Road
Co. Limerick
What Makes a Best Picture Winner at the Oscars (PDF 801KB)


Feedback on the posters

The following are some of the issues that arise each year while we are trying to manage the registration and entry processes:
• Entries in the wrong format;
• School and/or pupil names on the posters;
• Posters submitted without accompanying entry forms.

We remind teachers and pupils each year to carefully read the rules, however we continue to come across the same issues. Please be aware that reading the rules, which are few and reasonably straightforward, will make the process a lot smoother for both the CSO and the schools involved. It would be a pity for a team to lose out after all their hard work because of a technicality. We are happy to answer your questions if there is any confusion about the entry requirements.

Feedback from the judges

The judges were impressed with the variety of interesting topics covered in the posters this year but have offered the following tips and suggestions:

Try to avoid using a dark background colour in your poster as it can make some of the text very difficult to read. Sometimes colours and fonts can look different on screen and on paper, so it might be a good idea to print a copy of your poster to see how it looks before you submit it.

Cut down on the amount of text and consider the balance of blank space versus text/graphs. While a certain amount of blank space is needed in the margins etc. so that the poster is not too cluttered, small font sizes and small graphs are difficult to read. For the posters that were entered into BTYSTE, there should be some editing of these posters to make them more suitable to a poster competition.

Think about the appropriateness of the graphs that you use. Bar charts are good for comparisons, while line charts work better for trends. Scatter plot charts are good for relationships and distributions, but pie charts should be used only for simple compositions — never for comparisons or distributions. Graphs should help the reader to understand your results so be sure to label your axes and use a legend if required.

Some posters showed a lot of potential in terms of the subject matter and the data collection etc. but they didn’t quite follow through with the analysis section. Try to explore a range of statistical techniques including descriptive and inferential statistics.

Provide better information on where the data is sourced. Some posters were let down by a lack of description of their survey or data collection methods.

Be cautious around sensitive topics. We don't want to discourage students from working on topics that may be of a sensitive nature, but students and teachers need to be aware of issues around confidentiality and ethical surveying.

Finally, make sure to proof-read your poster before you submit it as typos and spelling mistakes can take from the overall impression of a poster.

Clarity of message: Try not to over-complicate your poster by attempting to test or analyse too many things.

Data collection: If survey data comes from a particular school, some background on the school should be provided so that the context of the findings may be more transparent. The possible effects of non-response could be explored.

Analysis and conclusions: Exercise caution when reporting your findings. Avoid overstating the inferences/conclusions that can be made from the results – usually the inferences are limited to the sample and probably can’t be extended to the overall population. It is very important to choose a statistical analysis that is appropriate for the type of data collected. Try to keep the commentary on the conclusions objective rather than subjective.

Graphs and tables: Make sure to label the axes of all graphs, label them correctly and try to select a style of graph that best conveys your message. Avoid the use of 3D graphs as they can often detract from the readability of a graph. Choose the graph type that is appropriate for your data, for example, do not use line graphs to summarise categorical data. In presenting your results, limit the number of decimal places displayed to 2 or less – unless the data specifically needs to be displayed with more decimal places.

Presentation: Take care with spelling and the overall alignment and formatting of the poster. Try to avoid having too much text and over-filling the poster area. Including more text by making the font size smaller on the poster can sometimes take away from the impact that the students’ hard work deserves. Use a mixture of text, graphs and images, but keep in mind graphs and images have a greater impact than text.

If the poster is in a slide format, do not over-complicate the flow of the narrative. Make sure the slides follow a simple, easy to follow and logical flow. For example:

Image for Feedback

Make sure all text, graphs and images are legible in the final poster. In a number of posters, the text was not legible as it blended into the background – try a dark font on a light background.

Try to create an eye-catching poster but be careful in choosing the overall colour scheme. 2 – 3 different colours should suffice. Use an overall colour scheme that is not too garish and hard on the eye. Avoid backgrounds that are too busy.

Creativity/Importance: Originality and creativity in the research question are key components of the competition.

Avail of the many online guides that can help to improve the overall impact of your poster, e.g.

Feedback welcome

Please send your feedback and comments on the John Hooper Medal for Statistics poster competition to