[R] Re: Thanks Frank, setting graph parameters, and why social scientists don't use R

John jwdougherty at mcihispeed.net
Wed Aug 18 02:56:06 CEST 2004

On Tuesday 17 August 2004 06:14, Roger D. Peng wrote:
> I'm just curious, but how do social scientists, or anyone else for
> that matter, learn SPSS, besides taking a class?
They sit down with a book, a computer, and data they desperately need to 
analyze and start working.  SPSS documentation and some of the third party 
works are fairly thorough, and pretty gentle, and the writings fits the 
expectations of someone who has had only the initiatory stats courses.  Your 
teacher emphasizes checking the normality of the data, so you look for the 
means of measuring it and the tests that tell you whether it is significant 
or not, after very carefully considering the nature of your data in the light 
of the assumptions made in the SPSS tests make.  You are far less concerned 
with the real mathematical mechanics than you are about meeting the 
expectations of the professor.  SPSS, SYSTAT, NCSS and similar programs all 
support this kind work.  Many social science professors don't really know 
enough to judge your work beyond similar expectations THEY learned from their 
own professors.  It's sad, but the way it works in many schools.


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