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  Alternatives Pty Ltd
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4. Software tools

In the previous section on Questions we imagined we had survey data from a group of 300 clients. To answer the questions above for this survey data would usually involve data analysis using computer software. There are many different types of software.

Examples of the different software tools and what they are useful for are outlined are:

Database

Examples of database programs are:

  • Microsoft Access

Databases such as Microsoft Access are typically used to enter client data, count records, sort records, view records, print reports.

Database can be used to get frequency distributions, percentages, means.

They are typically not designed to do statistical analyses such as analysis of variance, multi-way cross tabulations, etc.

Spreadsheets

Examples of spreadsheet programs are:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Corel Quattro Pro

Spreads sheets are useful for analyses such as:

  • frequency distributions
  • means
  • cross-tabulations

These packages are also useful for graphic data from individual variables.

They are typically not useful for more complex analysis such as multivariate analysis of variance, discriminant analysis unless a specific statistical module has been designed and written for them.

Statistical software

Examples of statistical software are:

  • Statistica
  • SPSS

Statistical software like the two packages above is designed to do the full range of statistical analysis from:

  • mean
  • range
  • frequency tables

To:

  • Multivariate analysis of variance
  • Discriminant analysis
  • Factor analysis
  • Cluster analysis

These packages also have an enormous range of graphics capabilities.

Qualitative software

The above packages focus on the analysis of quantitative data. There are also software packages for the analysis of qualitative data. For example: