Sunday, 28 August 2011

A Clash of the Titans – Excel VS SPSS

With our first set of BA classes underway, we got today just a glimpse of what to expect in the next 20 odd classes. Today we got to learn what level 1 analysis actually means and how it is actually useful in a true business sense. Till now any form of data we used to get, (for all those non SPSSS users like me) we would generally proceed by finding out the mean, median and the frequencies of the different elements in the data set. Not knowing that this actually constitutes a key component of the level 1 analysis. Any form of data we obtain has to go through these few stages just to make the data more – interpret-able. One of the major differences( or I dare say drawbacks) of SPSS is that almost everything has to be coded into numeric, or it cant function, which is a major issue we excel fanatics face. But I guess, just SPSS is a specialization tool which we need to conversant with and this is something we have to put up with.

Today we learnt that SPSS like excel has quite a few handy tools of which we got to use a few of them. The first one being the frequency tool – one which simply finds the frequency of the different data elements in a given data set. Something which excel also has, but unfortunately we have to drag and copy in excel, a trouble which SPSS does not. So SPSS – 1 Excel -0. We next arranged a huge data set from a discrete format into a range format just by changing the nature of the variable by “Re-coding” the variable” – a huge plus point which Excel lags completely. So SPSS -2 Excel-0.The frequency function does not just end there. By just selecting a couple of options we can get the mean,median, mode, sum, standard deviation, variance etc. nicely and neatly arranged in a different output sheet. In excel we would have to find all of these separately and it is quite cumbersome. So SPSS – 3 Excel -0. The descriptives function is a pretty handy tool which neatly displays the mean, minimum, maximum and standard deviation of a variable all in a table. Similar ot frequency function, but lesser not much to select. “Explore” true to it’s word – can be used to determine measures of central tendency (mean and median), measures of dispersion (range, interquartile range, standard deviation, variance, minimum and maximum), measures of kurtosis and skewness, and prepare histograms, stem and leaf plots, and Tukey box plots, WOW!!! This truly is one of a kind tool. Although I don’t know what a leaf plot stands for, but I am sure that such things are not so easily done in excel. SPSS – 4. Excel 0. Crosstabs as seen today is a way of analyzing one variable against the other in the light of several 3 party variables as possible. Something novel but is do-able in excel so I wouldn’t really give SPSS an upper hand in this case. There are quite a few other functions as well, but as of now let me absorb this much and get well versed with it for I don’t know how much I would be piled on tomorrow.

So till now we see SPSS winning, but SPSS may have won the battle but se shall see who wins the WAR!!!!!!


AUTHOR - Ronnie Banerjee

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