Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Beyond SPSS (revised 2/13/2105)

I'm an SPSS girl. I sit in my Psychology Department ivory tower and teach Introduction to Statistics via SPSS.

SPSS isn't the only way to do the statistics. In fact, it is/has been losing favor among "real" statisticians. I recently had a chat with a friend who has a Ph.D. in psychology and works as a statistician. She told me that statsy job postings rarely ask for SPSS skills. Instead, they are seeking people who know R and/or Python.

In order to better help our data-inclined students find work, I've gathered some information on learning R and Python. This probably isn't for every student. This probably isn't for 90% of our students. However, it may be helpful for an outstanding undergraduate or graduate student who is making noise like they want a data/research oriented career. Alternately, I think that an R class could be a really cool upper-level undergraduate elective for a select group of students.

Also, if anyone is brave enough to teach their undergraduate statistics students R, email me, I would love to pick your brain (hartnett004@gannon.edu).

Note: I have not tried out all of the resources I am listing (ain't nobody got time for that) but they ARE all interactive. Some require registration, some don't. All are free. Some are brief, some require several hours to complete

R

http://tryr.codeschool.com/

https://www.datacamp.com/

https://www.coursera.org/course/rprog

Python

http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/python

UPDATE: I received good feedback and suggestions from my blog readers (see below).

-Via Twitter, Michael Philipps suggested JASP Statistics, free data analysis software that acts a lot like SPSS.

-Via the Comment section, Juanjo Medina suggested this blog posting by Jeromy Anglim for more information on switching to R. http://jeromyanglim.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/evaluating-potential-incorporation-of-r.html#more

Another resource for to get us as well as our students up to speed on different software and statistical techniques is Coursera, home of many a free MOOC. Here is a link to statistics and data analysis classes that will be taught in English. The classes cover an array of topics, including R as well as specialization topics in statistics.