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Re: Should I use PSPP or R?

From: Thomas Levine
Subject: Re: Should I use PSPP or R?
Date: Tue, 8 May 2007 00:02:44 -0400

Hash: SHA1

I haven't ever used any real stats package unless you want to count the
one on the TI-89 Titanium, and seems it won't really matter which one I
use as whatever I do should be pretty simple, so I'll use another
criterium that I sometimes use to determine which program to use: Is it
easier to convert files from PSPP to R or from R to PSPP?
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)


On 5/7/07, Alan Mead <address@hidden> wrote:
Thomas Levine wrote:
> Hi,
> It seems like the only real free statistics packages are PSPP and R,
> but I'm having trouble understanding why people want to create a whole
> new system even though R already exists.  Aside from SPSS
> compatibility, what advantages does PSPP have over R?
> Thomas Levine


If you're happy with R, by all means.  There are many people who use S/R
and love it... But there are legions of people who will never use R but
think SPSS is better than sliced bread.

IMHO it's pretty handy to have the spreadsheet-like interface to the
dataset when you are creating new variables, transforming variables,
etc.  (Maybe R does this?  I'm only familiar with the CL version.  The
SAS version of this, where you can look, but not touch, is not as useful.)

For example, I recently had a dataset where I had 1-5 raters per person
and I wanted to calculate an ICC to assess agreement.  To do this, I had
to take the dataset with one record per 1 rating and flatten it into a
dataset with one record per ratee with three ratings/columns (I
discarded the fourth and fifth ratings).  SPSS provides functionality to
do this pretty neatly (and yet I screwed it up twice before getting it
right).  Being able to write SPSS code to do the transformations but
also being able to visually inspect the data is a big plus for me.

(That said, R can do a lot of neat tricks as well.. especially
graphics... don't get me wrong.)

Ultimately, why would you only want one tool in your toolbox?


Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions,
including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog.
--Doug Larson

Alan D. Mead, Ph.D.             | Institute of Psychology
Assistant Professor             | Illinois Institute of Technology
Scientific Adviser,             | 3101 South Dearborn, 2nd floor
Center for Research and Service | Chicago IL 60616

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