Grant reviewed some of the programing features of R, and briefly mentioned the availability of other programs. One other paper reviewed statistical packages, mainly commercial, but includes R. Only one review has compared the output of various packages. All of the packages gave exactly the same results for correlation and regression. The free software packages also gave the same regression results as did excel. One of the main differences among the packages was how they handled missing data. With the example data sets used in the review, and for the package versions available in November when this review was conducted, two packages, MicrOsiris and Epi Info, could read files with blanks for missing.
Two other programs, Stat4U and WinIdams need something for the missing, like -9 or The other packages could only handle data sets with no missing values. Two websites that list software also have very brief reviews of each package.
These two sites are StatCon  and by Pezzullo. Similarly, one other web site compares the statistical procedures available on free statistical packages. The others had from 8 to 11 of the procedures. There is also a journal specifically for statistical software,  although the main focus is on commercial software, R and some coding snippets. In contrast, there are various reviews of commercial statistical software, such as a comparison between several major packages  and a brief review of several packages.
Before using any statistical packages, it is generally a good idea to have a solid background in Statistics. Then the packages can be used to the best advantage, for example, to choose the most appropriate test, to make sure all the necessary assumptions are met, so that the appropriate conclusions can be drawn. Once the statistical issues are understood, the next step is to decide which package to use.
Most of these packages are menu driven, and can be learned in a couple of hours at most, except R, which is generally code driven and requires a much longer time to learn, and to some extent CDC's Epi Info, which also takes some time to learn. Several of the packages also have tutorials. These tutorials help with a basic introduction and learning the basics of the programs.
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Most of the packages have online manuals, guides or help pages. These are useful when there are questions about specific procedures or statistical tests. The main reason to use free packages is probably the cost. Many of the packages have some kind of opening menu that is used to get or enter the data, manipulate the data, and select the statistical analysis.
Then after starting the program, generally data can be obtained, either from previously saved data sets, or importing from some other format. From this menu, data files in various formats can be imported. For example, if the data is in CSV form text with commas between values , the program recognizes the format and creates a data set from the CSV file. Finally, the program can be used to do some analysis. In this analysis menu, the variables of interest can be selected, along with other options. Then the analysis is run and results are obtained. WinIDAMS does have an interactive menu to read in data, but then specific statistical procedures need a set of text commands.
For example, the text command lines for frequencies look like this:. The procedures all have various options outlined in the manuals. One consideration is whether there are missing data. So for example, say one set of data look like this:.
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When some packages, like PSPP or MicrOsiris, read in or import the original data set, the packages will recognize that those values are missing, and do their calculations accordingly. MicrOsiris automatically assigns 1.
Other packages need a 'placeholder', such as '-9' where there are missing data. So for example:.
Free statistical software
If the data set actually includes '-9', then when the data is being read in the program will have to be told when the -9 means missing data. Several of the programs, including Easyreg, Epidata and Instat, do not appear to handle missing data or do not handle it well. Rather correlation is found by regression. According to the Zelig installation manual, use of Zelig requires that R and several of its libraries already be installed, and the installation also requires some degree of background in R.
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When calculations are complete, the output pages through the results, but various menu boxes also appear over the results, and so the results cannot be accessed. The output can be saved, though, as a text file and then used. One limitation is specific to programs that were developed by individuals. Support for these programs is limited to the time that the author has available. While the authors may, and often do, respond fairly quickly when there are few people asking questions, if too many people ask questions or the author is otherwise busy, support would correspondingly be slower.
R is both written by and used by a large number of people all over the world, and many forums and other internet facilities can be used to get support from other users. While R is powerful, the learning curve can be rather steep for those not already familiar with other kinds of scientific programming. This article incorporates material from the Citizendium article " Free statistical software ", which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. In this article, the word "free" generally means "no money expenses" as in "free ice cream". Just a few of the software packages mentioned here are also "free" as in the sense of "free speech": they are not only open source but also free software in the sense that the source code of the software is freely available and can be freely modified by anyone who so desires, and even also distributed to others, as long as those re-distributed modifications remain free in exactly this same strong sense.
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Please contact the content providers to delete files if any and email us, we'll remove relevant links or contents immediately. Login Join User. IT Certification Mathematics Physics. By anonymous. A unique feature is its compatibility with many other statistical programs. OpenStat users are researchers and students in the social sciences, education, or psychology, who benefit from the hands on approach to Statistics.