You have to choose a software package to analyze some data for school or work. Choosing the right software can be a dream or a nightmare. I have come up with a list of questions to ask yourself in order to make the correct decision for YOU. I emphasize ‘you’ because everybody has different needs and financial budget. You may have the funds to buy the most powerful statistical software package. Or maybe you just need something for the semester. Here are a list three thought provoking questions that may help you decide on that purchase…
(1) Is stats my thing?
(2) Who is buying this software for me?
(3) How intuitive is the software language?
Okay let’s look at each question one at a time. For number one, we have to explore the question -is statistics your thing? Will you be using it for a life long career or just one class? If it’s just one class, there are software packages you can download for free or a nominal fee. R software is a free software available to the public. Microsoft excel is also free. SPSS and Minitab are relatively affordable programs you can rent for 30 to 40 bucks at a time (6 months to a years worth of access). If your plan is to use statistical software beyond the classroom setting, you might consider investing in SPSS. Number two you should ask the question who is buying this software for me? If it’s your job, they might pay for a higher end software (like SAS) used for work. Number three, you want a software which is user friendly. SAS software requires a certain level of skill. STATA is very intuitive and powerful in that the commands provide a lot of detailed output. Yet STATA is very expensive for an end-user , unless you can get access to it from school or work.
Your best bet is to evaluate the need and your budget/resources available to you.
If you liked this blog there are more to follow.-Amy