[Social-sciences-list] Introduction and stats software inquiry

Robert Hooper hooper.90 at buckeyemail.osu.edu
Mon Oct 29 17:06:59 UTC 2012

Hello everyone:

My name is Robert Hooper, and I am a third year undergraduate student at The Ohio State University. I am majoring in psychology and neuroscience, with a minor in Spanish and biology. I don't remember from where or whom I originally discovered the existence of this list, but here I am.
So, I might as well start off with a question, as I have not yet had a community of people with visual disabilities to answer it.
My question is: statistics. I enjoy working with them, which is surprising-I have always loathed working with other types of mathematics. Anyway, I find that with some tinkering, SPSS is halfway accessible. I have installed SPSS 20, along with the Java accessibility bridge provided by IBM. I find the interface a bit sluggish, and the output window completely inaccessible. I can, however, access the output if I export it to a Word document. For those of you in need of a statistical package, what do you use? If SPSS, what do you do to make it work? If not, what do you use and how does it compare to SPSS? I have heard of and tried R, but I have no experience with command lines, and using it seemed very tedious-I gave it maybe half an hour before installing SPSS and trying to make that accessible. Microsoft Excel can only be used for so much-when you get into regression and multiple regression, etc. it simply falls short (which is to be expected-Excel was never marketed as a comprehensive statistical package).
If I must use another program, I face the problem of being alone-that is, it seems as though most people use SPSS. SPSS is often used in my data analysis class, both in the textbook and the classroom. All of those with whom I spoke about research say that they use SPSS. So, if I use another package, I fear that I wouldn't be able to get as much support from my peers, who would be unfamiliar with whatever software I would be using. Because SPSS is so widely used, there are vast support networks for it. If I had a problem with a statistical test or running a statistical test, a professor, peer, colleague, etc. could look over my shoulder and give advice-not so if I forego SPSS.
There you have it-I'm sure that this has come up before, and I apologize if I am stirring up an already well-stirred pot. I hope that many benefits come from being a member of this community. I'm sure I will be in touch again-I, like many others with a passion for a particular field or subject, will happily discuss, learn, and debate until my fingers fall off. Thanks in advance for any help.
One final note-I have a 2012 MacBook Pro with Mountain Lion installed. I also installed Windows 7 via bootcamp on a separate partition. I have SPSS for both Windows and Mac OS, however the installation of SPSS on the Mac side is inaccessible. Therefore, I haven't been able to determine SPSS's level of accessibility on Mac OS.
Robert Hooper
Hooper.90 at buckeyemail.osu.edu
The Ohio State University, Department of Psychology; Department of Neuroscience
572 Stinchcomb Drive #3
Columbus, Ohio 43202
(740) 856-8195

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