Thursday, April 6, 2017

A replacement for SPSS?

Could this program be the end of SPSS?

I have previously recommended JASP as a useful—and free!—statistical software package. I stand by that recommendation (nay, I'm doubling down on it!) as JASP has the following advantages:
  1. A slick, easy-to-grasp user interface
  2. All of the major types of statistical test, including one-sample, repeated-measures, and independent-samples t tests, ANOVA, ANCOVA, correlation, regression, and even the chi-square test for independence [i.e. the two-variable chi-square]. It even has a module for structural equation modeling, for those who conduct such analyses!
  3. Bayesian analogues to each of the above tests
  4. A simple, one-click method to run these tests, which makes it an ideal instructional tool (and useful for many basic research needs as well). 
  5. It's a no-cost, open-source, cross-platform (Windows, MacOS, Linux) program, so there are zero barriers to personal use.
  6. It launches pretty quickly, and runs extremely fast—even on low-powered computers. 

JASP Screenshot from my own personal computer 

This image is freely available for use; just cite

The recent [March 21, 2017] release of version has rendered JASP is even more useful than it was in the past! Here's the latest major change to the program:
  • Data synchronization that (finally!) allows you to edit your data from within the program itself. You can sync a .csv file, .sav file, or .ods [LibreOffice spreadsheet] file.
Now that you can edit the data in a window in the statistical program itself (via data synchronization, which can be turned off if you so desire), and since a previous build allowed users to integrate JASP output with their OSF page, I think that JASP has finally become good enough to provide many researchers with all the statistical capability they need!

SPSS can still perform some of the more esoteric/advanced statistical procedures that JASP cannot, such as multi-level modeling. But since such procedures tend to be used relatively infrequently (at least in experimental social science research such as my own), JASP can probably handle the bulk of your analytical load.

Further, as a stats instructor, this tool is my secret weapon! I am encouraging students to use this program for an APA-style paper for which they have to run a handful of analyses to answer different questions.

This semester, I asked my Stats students how they felt about SPSS, and they generally weren't too fond of the program due to its complexity, pickiness, and uninformative error messages (not to mention an appearance that's stuck in the 1990s).

After I demonstrated JASP in class, the students seemed far more impressed with the free and open JASP than they were with the costly SPSS!

EDIT 5/30/2018: Just discovered that JASP is now available as an online resource, according to this blog post on the JASP website and a Tweet by E.J. Wagenmakers. You have to sign up for a RollApp account if you want to use this option.

And, if for some reason you're not a fan of JASP, a similar (and also free!) option called jamovi is under development. You can type data straight into this one, whereas I don't believe that's an option yet in JASP. jamovi lacks some features that JASP incorporates, but it's still a nice stats program for use in the classroom (or for your research)!

jamovi screenshot from my own personal computer
This image is freely available for use; just cite

Should IBM be worried about SPSS adoption rates? Maybe...

Intrigued? Here is the website; you can download JASP by clicking 
the "Download" tab and selecting the version that's appropriate for your operating system. 
Or you can just follow this link instead. Hey, what do you have to lose? 
Try out this free stats program and see if it meets your needs! If it doesn't, you can just uninstall it...

If you'd like to try jamovi, here's the link for that.

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