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Date:         Wed, 28 Sep 2005 13:44:24 -0400
Reply-To:     Art@DrKendall.org
Sender:       "SPSSX(r) Discussion" <SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:         Art Kendall <Art@DrKendall.org>
Organization: Social Research Consultants
Subject:      Re: SPSS vs. Excel?
Comments: To: Michael Reed <ndjole51@hotmail.com>
In-Reply-To:  <BAY107-F151CF35D841948694962BFCD940@phx.gbl>
Content-type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

If you are really only doing basic descriptive statistics and no ANOVA, Regression, random number generation, etc. Then you may be able to get by with a spreadsheet. Various statistical discussion lists have covered using Excel for statistics. There are numerical analysis and other problems here are a few of the views.

http://www.npl.co.uk/ssfm/ssfm1/validate/testing/excel.html

Several items on software that includes Excel or Excel itself.

http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~bdm25/publications.html <http://www.pages.drexel.edu/%7Ebdm25/publications.html>

http://www.stat.uiowa.edu/~jcryer/JSMTalk2001.pdf <http://www.stat.uiowa.edu/%7Ejcryer/JSMTalk2001.pdf>

I advise my clients to use a statistical package for statistics. Spread sheets (QuattroPro, Lotus, Excel) are all great for use as spreadsheets. As statistical packages think of "please pass the hammer, I want to drive in this nail with the funny spiral ridge around it". If they are doing work with real life consequences (public policy oversight, etc.) I recommend SPSS as the primary package for several reasons. The packages are very solid mathematically. SPSS stands out because of the human factors aspects. However, there are occasionally procedures that are not in SPSS, so other packages might be necessary after the data has been cleaned and prepped. It is easy to pass data from SPSS to other packages and to limited-purpose programs at the frontiers of stat. Cleaning, prepping, and exploring the data is usually 80 to 95% of the analyst's time, and SPSS really stands out in these things. If analysts' time costs money this becomes very important.

The GUI shortens the time to write syntax (process commands and documentation). The syntax facilitates the developmental process of revising the analysis until it does what is needed. The syntax facilitates redoing portions of the work as the analyst, supervisors, and quality assurance reviewers develop their views and understanding of the data. The syntax helps with getting help by showing what was done It facilitates sharing the data and metadata as is required by the ethical standards of several disciplines and regulations for grants in the US.

Hope this helps.

Art Art@DrKendall.org Social Research Consultants University Park, MD USA Inside the Washington, DC beltway. (301) 864-5570

Michael Reed wrote:

> I'm a consultant who works mostly with basic descriptive statistics. I've > used MS-Excel for the past few years. Questions: (1) is purchasing > SPSS 14.0 > worthy my while? (2) is there any way to legally obtain SPSS for less > than > the $1,500 going price? Thanks, Michael > >


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