She's Real Fine My 409: A study of cars in oxford

This topic submitted by The Herbivores: Fried, Fox, Small, Stewart, Woehr, Yon ( at 1:47 am on 10/19/00. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Section: Campbell

In the small town of Oxford, Ohio, many different cars are driven, partly due to the large college population and the fact that there is a huge amount of variety of vehicles that one can drive. All of these choices come along with them certain statements about priority. The question becomes, what priorities do people have in mind when they purchase an automobile?

This study will take a survey of many of the different cars that are in the Oxford community. What style of car is the most popular? What is the preferred color? Most importantly, what does this say about our community’s values as evidenced by what they drive?

First we can assume what people look for when purchasing a car. According to Kiplinger’s New Cars and Trucks, people consider, in no particular order, luxury, cargo space, head/leg room, horsepower, resale value, acceleration, fuel efficiency, comfort, safety and popularity. Our study is more concerned with more basic priorities rather than considerations, namely style and status versus efficiency, safety, and environmental concerns. Do people use cars to look good or get from point A to point B?

Our hypothesis is that drivers in Oxford value style and status over economy, safety and the environment. We expect to find the most popular car s to be sport-utility vehicles (SUV’s) and sports cars, with the most popular color being red.

The relevance of this experiment would be to prove a long-held stereotype that Miami students are materialistic. The results will also show that the community as a whole is rather wealthy and concerned with style.

Experimental Design & Data Collection

In our experiment, we have devised two methods of collecting data. This data will use non-random and random sampling techniques. For the non-random sampling, we will consult the Miami University Police Department and get records of all of the student cars registered with the University and parked in Detmer parking lot. We will record the style and color of the car registered. This will give us a huge starting base for our data. The records at Detmer will also give us the chance to record the cars driven by underclassmen, because University regulations require that underclassmen with cars on campus must park it at Detmer.

For the chance to record the cars driven by upperclassmen and faculty, we have devised another non-random sampling method. We will record the cars parked in the parking lots around campus at various times of the day. This will be done throughout the semester to ensure a wide variety of cars parked in a certain area. Although there will be some overlap by those who have a preferred parking space, this will aid our study by showing which cars are driven frequently. Since the Miami University community makes up two-thirds of the Oxford community, we have a way to record the majority of vehicles Oxford.

Our random sampling method serves as a way to record the cars drove in Oxford as a whole, not exclusive to the University. At various times in the day throughout the semester, pairs of people from our group will observe the cars that pass them at certain intersections in Oxford. These intersections include Patterson Avenue and High Street, Campus Avenue and High Street, and the Wendy’s located uptown. We will be in pairs of people, ensuring that every car that is seen can be recorded.

For both the non-random and random sampling method, we will use the data sheet attached to the end of this proposal, for consistency. By using these techniques, we can obtain a statistically sound database.

Class Data Collecting

The class will also be very involved in our study. Our plan for our day conducting class will go as follows. The entire class will number off by twos. Some members of our lab group will lead each group. One group will participate in a group discussion about the stereotypes of Miami University students and their materialistic values. They will answer survey questions that we have generated to prompt the discussion. The discussion will then lead to cars, and what people consider when purchasing a car. They will discuss which cars are more efficient than others and which ones are mainly for show or style. One of our group members will make a list of the human values, and the different considerations of a car. The discussion will also include a classification session, or going over the different types of cars, and which category they go into. The purpose of this exercise is for our lab group to determine if others support our hypothesis and since we will be doing this early in our experiment, if we need to alter the experiment in any way. Also, this session will allow the class to better understand our project.

The other group will receive a data collecting sheet and will go to Western Drive or another assigned area and collect data by making tally marks on their sheet of each car which they will categorize and mark it according to color. (Please see our data sheet to further explanation). After counting a minimum of 30 cars, the groups will then switch, and the group that started out in discussion will then receive a data-collecting sheet and will go collect data of 30 cars (preferably not the same ones).

After the second discussion is completed and the second group is finished collecting data, both groups will then station themselves at the two computers in the Peer Science Center and use Statview to analyze their results and to further their understanding of our experiment. The Herbivores could then use their Statview results to come up with a general idea how our results will turn out.

In summary, the class will be asked to participate in a group discussion, collect data, and then process it through Statview. This will help our group get a general idea of how our results will turn out, and help them understand our experiment and the main ideas behind it. This is a hands-on lab for the students in our class, and we feel they will do more than only do well and complete this lab successfully. They will facilitate our group in determining what our results might be and the Statview results will be used to analyze all of our data.

Literature Cited

Quotes from a student generated lab draft entitled,"Conformity: Western vs.
Main Campus"

"Miami is heavily affected by conformity, this is undeniably true, and these corporations reap the benefits. Miami is known to the outside world as a “preppy” school, and as J Crew U. Walking the grounds of Miami is like walking through an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog. We note that these are generalizations- not every Miami student dresses to this code, but an overwhelmingly number do.”

"Conformity is a basic part of human nature. Humans are social creatures-needing the companionship and love of others as desperately as air and water. In seek of human companionship, individuals adapt themselves in subtle ways to appear more like, or pleasing, to their potential peers. There is a sense of belonging and comfort that comes from a pocket of close peers, that brings the individual a sense of security."

Quotes from a student generated lab entitled, "the Miami Image and
There are many societal pressures to "fit the image" of the Miami University Student. Many students believe that there is a "Miami image" and that they feel that they fit that image by their car, clothes, and personality.

Quotes from an article about Emission standards
"Sport Utility Vehicles or (SUV's) are proven to burn more fuel than smaller cars, and therefore produce more pollutants. With more and more Americans buying SUV's and lights trucks, controls have to be placed on the emission of pollutants by these gas-guzzling vehicles."

Quotes from an article about emission standards
"Sport Utility Vehicles seem well on the way to becoming the ultimate icon of yuppiedom. Late last year, for the first time, SUV sales outpaced those of passenger cars. Urban commuters who cotton to high-riding chic. SUV's can legally cough up twice the pollution of cars, they present conservation minded parents, lovers of the outdoors, and young professionals with a hard choice: riding in style verses smog."

Quotes from "Traffic Safety Facts" 1997-
"SUV's had the highest rollover involvement rate of any vehicle type in fatal crashes--36%! SUV's also had the highest rollover rate in injury crashes --9% Nearly 2/3 (63%) of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes in 1997 were unrestrained

Quotes from "Which Cars are Safest?"
SUV's are mentioned in the top ten list of the injury most likely in the top ten list of safety of cars in this article.

Here is the survey we will distribute during class:

Car Survey

We are studying the cars in the Oxford community and their underlying values. Part of the student-generated lab is a discussion about what cars say about their drivers. To start off this conversation, please fill out this quick survey. Go with your gut instinct on these questions, it will only help us more!
Thanks, The Herbivores

1) What kind of car do you drive? (Please include make and color)

2) If you could drive any kind of car, what would it be?

3) How important are the following factors when looking for a car, on a scale of 1 to 10? (1= not important at all, 10= VERY important, 5= neutral)

Brand ____ Type____
Fuel Economy____ Style____
Price ____ Production Location ___

4) Please rank the following factors by numerical priority, with a one meaning your number one priority when buying a car:

Make of car-
Driving “Feel”-
Opinions of others-
Environmental Concerns-

5) Do you think you are a “typical Miami student?” Why or why not?

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