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Subject: Minitab, SPSS, SAS, or R rss

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Marshall Miller
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Alright. For all you stats savvy geeks, time for the big question. Which statistical package do you prefer? I have some experience with:

Minitab - hated
SPSS - easy to use but some versions don't compute split plot ANOVAs
SAS - currently learning and enjoying
R - no experience what so ever

Which do you prefer and why?
If you have used R, how do you like it? is it worth learning?
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Jeff Wiles
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I think Amy's learning/working with R right now. I'll make sure she sees your thread in a timely manner.
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The Steak Fairy
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Well, you left out the obvious winner: BMDP. But if I have to choose from yours, then you left out SPSSx, so you failed again. Finally, of the ones you mentioned, SAS is probably the most enjoyable from a pure data processing standpoint. It's so much more robust than its original purpose requires that it's hard not to just love it to pieces.
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Paul
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SPSS is "easy to use?" Now I am feeling a bit dumb. I hated that program with my heart and soul when I was in college.
 
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Marshall Miller
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LessPaul wrote:
SPSS is "easy to use?" Now I am feeling a bit dumb. I hated that program with my heart and soul when I was in college.

It is easy to use in that if you know what test you want to perform, you can simply select it from a drop down menu and drag-and-drop the variables of interest (same with Minitab as I recall). With SAS or R you have to learn a "programming language" of commands.
 
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Marshall Miller
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MisterCranky wrote:
Well, you left out the obvious winner: BMDP. But if I have to choose from yours, then you left out SPSSx, so you failed again.


I only listed the ones I had heard of or used (really, I'm interested in who uses which program? why? and should I bother learning R? or should I learn something else?)
 
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The Steak Fairy
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Well all the best epidemiologists from the 80's and 90's used BMDP! I have no idea if it's still popular, or indeed who gives a damn about epidemiology, anyway.
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Amy Wiles
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Unfortunately, I haven't had much time to really use R fully. It seems to be pretty straight forward but with a lot of flexibility.

I'm doing bioinformatics, and there are a lot of packages and libraries available already for R in Bioconductor. So R is the statistical language of choice for bioinformaticians, I believe.

What do you want to use a statistical programming language for? What are you looking for in it? What kinds of data do you need to analyze?


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Nick Warcholak wrote:
If the job is lighter on data manipulation and requires moderate to heavy statistical analysis, I prefer SPSS. If the job requires heavy data manipulation or obscure statistical tests, I prefer SAS, though I use its GUI (Enterprise Guide), as much as I can.


I agree with the above, though I use SAS pretty much exclusively.

The only thing that I don't like about SAS is that without the matrix language it can sometimes be difficult to get the data manipulated the way your would like and with SAS's matrix language is seemingly very slow.
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Marshall Miller
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amwiles wrote:

What do you want to use a statistical programming language for? What are you looking for in it? What kinds of data do you need to analyze?


I'm currently in a Psychology doctoral program. Most of the analysis that I do is of the mixed design ANOVA variety (multiple groups tested at multiple time points).

One problem that I run into often is that the data I generate requires a lot of reformatting to arrange properly for SPSS (and/or Minitab) because I usually have to merge the time point x variable data matrix for each participant into an overall subject x variable matrix. I have yet to try fitting it into SAS without reformatting it though (not quite sure how to go about it).
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Amy Wiles
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Mease19 wrote:
amwiles wrote:

What do you want to use a statistical programming language for? What are you looking for in it? What kinds of data do you need to analyze?


I'm currently in a Psychology doctoral program. Most of the analysis that I do is of the mixed design ANOVA variety (multiple groups tested at multiple time points).

One problem that I run into often is that the data I generate requires a lot of reformatting to arrange properly for SPSS (and/or Minitab) because I usually have to merge the time point x variable data matrix for each participant into an overall subject x variable matrix. I have yet to try fitting it into SAS without reformatting it though (not quite sure how to go about it).

I use SQL to manage all of my data, which is really a simple language, for basic things. Data formatting manipulation was always difficult for me until I started using SQL.

The course I took on R made it seem that ANOVA was very straight forward and it was pretty easy to manipulate the data format for the analysis as well.



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