for this page stems from my own academic upbringing which included strict and
exclusive indoctrination into the use of SPSS for any data analysis. I do not
regret that indoctrination because SPSS is extremely easy to use and, in my
opinion, helps make statistical analysis less intimidating to the first time
user. And in this computer age it is simply not practical to hand calculate
beyond an educational setting. However, as I became aware of more and more
complex data analysis techniques, I soon discovered the limitations of SPSS. I
began to look at other statistical software for doing techniques SPSS could not.
This led me to SAS for its ability to conduct structural equation modeling
(using PROC CALIS). SAS was intimidating for me because I am not a computer
programmer and SAS does not offer the point-and-click ease with which I was
accustomed. So, I learned how to use some basic functions of SAS as well as PROC
CALIS to achieve my objective of conducting structural equation modeling. At
this point, I became aware of the cost associated with purchasing SPSS and/or
SAS. I was a student at that time and the idea of purchasing one or both of
those software packages sounded great until I discovered the price. Obviously,
here is where I began to seriously consider learning R. R is free and as near as
I can tell; it does any data analysis technique I can think of and any technique
I've even heard of. But, R is intimidating because, like SAS it is primarily
a programming based software. So, yes R is intimidating, but anyone is capable
of using R. If you reached this page; you're likely ready to get in the trenches
and begin slugging it out. And, there are a few bright spots; just about
anything that works in R will work in S-Plus and R-Commander allows some
point-and-click functions to get you started. Furthermore, there is an enormous
amount of help to be found on the web for using R. The community of R users all
went through the process of learning this stuff and are very gracious in trading
information and helping others. This has created an environment where there is
no shame in asking any question.
What is R?
You can download the above video by clicking the
following link: What is R?