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PSPP and Statistical Computations

What is PSPP?

PSPP is an open source statistical package alternative built on the same basic principles and functionality as SPSS or PASW. As an open source alterative, the program is free available for everyone under a GNU license through the Free Software Foundation.

While you can burn copies of the software and have them available for purchase in your college/university bookstore (see GNU policy on "free"), you can also make it freely available from your own website (like we've done here) or direct students to download the software for free from the PSPP website.

In these times when colleges and universities are drastically slashing budgets for software and other technical equipment, relying on open source alternatives is very important. Thankfully, PSPP has filled a very important gap that is perfect as a substitute for SPSS or PASW.

One note of caution is needed, however. PSPP does not, nor will it ever, have the same complete functionality as SPSS or PASW. As a statistical tool, it is quite limited and does not have the breadth of statistical features as other, expensive software packages. However, it works very well as a substitute package when teaching a basic communication research course.

Because of the free nature of PSPP, we are proud to provide you quick and easy access to the software on this website. Just click the PSPP logo above to download the software for your personal statistical use.

Jason's Observations About PSPP

In Spring 2010, I had the opportunity to encourage students to utilize PSPP for their final projects in an organizational communication seminar. As a whole, I found it very easy for students who have taken communication research methods to easily make the switch to PSPP. While the software does not calculate advanced statistics, all of the basic statistics discussed in our book are easily computed using PSPP.

One minor problem does involving setting up coded data for PSPP. In SPSS or SAS, you have the ability to just string coded text and then determine the columns following data entry when you import the data into SPSS or SAS. In PSPP, you need to specify your column prior to entering your data. You can do this by either placing a comma between the different variables or tabbing between variables. You should then be able to import your data into the software with no problems.

If you've already coded text using non-specified columns, you can easily important into either Excel (TM) or SPSS/PASW and then save as a tab delineated file that can be loaded into PSPP with ease.

In the near future, I hope to have some screen shots similar to those in the book using SPSS and SAS for PSPP. Come Back Soon!!!