Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2005 13:44:24 -0400
Sender: "SPSSX(r) Discussion" <SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Art Kendall <Art@DrKendall.org>
Organization: Social Research Consultants
Subject: Re: SPSS vs. Excel?
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
here are a few of the views.
Several items on software that includes Excel or Excel itself.
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
Hope this helps.
Social Research Consultants
University Park, MD USA Inside the Washington, DC beltway.
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
> the $1,500 going price? Thanks, Michael