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

Gabias, Paul paul.gabias at ubc.ca
Mon Oct 29 17:55:11 UTC 2012

Hello Everybody,


I graduated with my Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from New York
University in 1988.  I am an Associate Professor of Psychology at The
University of British Columbia Canada.  My campus is in the heart of the
Okanagan Valley, in Kelowna British Columbia.  All of this talk about
statistical packages makes me want to remind people that computers are
not in a position to help people  choose research questions, and
research designs.  And, it's research questions and research designs
that inform a person on what statistical tests to use.  Understanding
the mathematics behind those tests is important, so that people know
exactly what the specific test is capable of measuring and predicting
and what it cannot measure or predict.  

Because  I  work with sighted assistants, and I did that in graduate
school too, all statistical packages become available to me.  So, as a
student, I would work with whatever statistical package my peers are
using, if it were possible.  Sometimes you do have to take your own way,
as a blind person, but statistical packages don't dictate the results.
It's the results that count, whatever the package is used.

Those are my two cents worth.


All The Best


Paul Gabias Ph.D. LL.D.


From: Social-sciences-list
[mailto:social-sciences-list-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Robert
Sent: Monday, October 29, 2012 10:07 AM
To: Social Sciences List (social-sciences-list at nfbnet.org)
Subject: [Social-sciences-list] Introduction and stats software inquiry


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

572 Stinchcomb Drive #3

Columbus, Ohio 43202

(740) 856-8195


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