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 (

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



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.

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.