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Data Services: Data Analysis

Tools for data analysis

Excel - easy to use for basic data analysis.  Provides good charting and graphing.  Even if you plan to use another tool for statistical analysis, Excel can provide an easy way to enter your data.

SPSS (or the freeware version PSPP) - has a graphical user interface.  It is somewhat like Excel, but provide buttons and widgets to do basic and advanced statistics.  Procedures can be saved as scripts and used with additional datasets

Stata- statistical analysis with enhanced data and matrix manipulation.  In between SPSS and SAS in difficulty of use.

SAS - combines data management with statistical programming.  It is good for complex datasets, but may be challenging for beginners.

R - free statistical programming language.  Very popular in many fields.

MATLAB (or the free version Octave) - statistical programming language with good graphic output.  Also used in engineering and other sciences.

  • Matlab tutorials - covers the basis of Matlab and introductory statistics
  • Mathworks - the official documentation for Matlab

Minitab - general purpose statistical software for easy interactive use and basic instruction

Amos - estimates structural equation models for manifest and latent variables.  

NVivo - qualitative analysis software that handles data that is not numeric such as text documents, audio files and pictures.

ArcGIS - a tool for geographic analysis.  Available (free) for student computers and at several labs around campus.

ERDAS - suite of remote sensing analysis tools.  Includes IMAGINE and LPS.



Evaluate Data - CRAAP test

Data can be evaluated the same way that articles are evaluated.

The CRAAP test is a five part tool to help you determine if a source of data is worth using.

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

  •      examples: .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government),
                   .org (nonprofit organization), or .net (network)

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content, and

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

The CRAAP test was developed by librarians at California State University, Chico.


Your Librarian

Matt Benzing's picture
Matt Benzing
207 King Library
(513) 529-7203