Date: Sat, 24 Oct 2009 11:05:19 -0600
Reply-To: ViAnn Beadle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sender: "SPSSX(r) Discussion" <SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: ViAnn Beadle <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Tail wagging dog
SPSS the product does what you tell it to do so I'm not sure that your
SPSS the company has never tried to be an evangelist for new and
experimental approaches to data analysis but has continued to expand its
statistical offerings to be competitive.
For example, as survey research segued into new types of analysis for
categorical data. Lazersfeldian elaboration analysis (ca. 1948) beget
loglinear analysis (ca. 1980) beget GEE, generalized linear models, the
Leiden contributions, etc. So SPSS the company added those kinds of stats.
In addition, in support of survey research, SPSS has also added missing
value analysis, codebooks, data validation, multiple imputation, raking,
etc. So I don't think that predictive analysis and business requirements
have "taken over".
From: John F Hall [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, October 24, 2009 10:24 AM
To: ViAnn Beadle; Bruce Weaver; email@example.com
Cc: Martin Holt
Subject: Tail wagging dog
Car drives driver, cart drives horse, etc., etc?
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/341850.html helps to explain the meaning
of the phrase "tail wagging the dog", but a better example is from Angus
Campbell's article in ISSJ 1974 about how to develop and maintain research
Quoting someone else's maxim, he states that it is important that
administrators in research institutes understand that there are three groups
of people more important than administrators, "the research scientists,
the research scientists, and the research scientists". I feel the same way
about SPSS, statisticians and computer programmers.
I had a similar problem once with an administrator trying to tell academics
how to run the department, in particular my course. She got very upset whan
I told her it was her job to make my life easier, not the other way round.
That's why I always did my own administration in the Survey Research Unit.
The only time I allowed an admin person anywhere near a project led to
Probably extreme, but that's what I mean by "tail wagging dog". SPSS is
there to do what I tell it, not the other way round, but nowadays predictive
analysis and business requirements seem to have taken over from survey
Does that explain or not?