SPSS is software that has been used for doing statistical analysis with ease. Along with the analysis part, it is also useful for data access and preparation, graphics, modelling and analytical reporting. At the time that this software was launched, it was called the statistical package for social sciences. Soon after its release in the year 1968, it came to become the most widely used statistical programme, particularly for the stream of social sciences, healthcare, government, market research surveying.
The fundamental differences between SPSS and Microsoft excel are:
The initial feel of both the software is same. They have the pull down menu and a whole lot of statistical functions in a user friendly spreadsheet format that makes data entry very easy and simple. Apart from all this, SPSS has been specially built for statistical tasks and offers features that are way beyond what we find on excel.
- Quicker and easier access of the basic functions: Certain basic statistical tools like descriptive statistics which includes mean , median standard deviation etc. are available in pull down menu unlike excel which has inbuilt functions but they aren’t available in pull down feature.
- Provision to create complex graphs and charts: Excel does have the option to create basic charts and graphs but SPSS helps to create better contingency tables and complex graphs, again in a simple pull down menu.
- Easier to locate statistical tests: the location of tests is easier and simpler in SPSS as compared to excel.
The picture isn’t all rosy when we talk about the advantages of SPSS. It has its own set of disadvantages, especially for a casual learner. First and fore mostly it comes with a hefty price tag. A researcher who has frugal resources would find it difficult to afford the package and would prefer to use it on a multi user university licence than purchasing it on a personal level.