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Statistical Software: Overview

Resources for learning statistical software.

Geospatial Data Librarian & Statistics Specialist

Get help with statistical software

Do you have specific questions about statistics, research methods, or software?

Make an appointment with a consultant at Harvard

Consultations are free to MIT.

Attend a Summer Statistics Program

Statistical software workshops

Software at MIT

All statistical software below can perform commonly used statistical tests and save commands to and run commands from a syntax file.

Software Strengths Weaknesses Interface Access
  • free and open source
  • variety of add-on packages available
  • flexible and robust programming language 
  • steep leaning curve (no GUI)
  • quality of packages varies
  • no standard help resources
command line Athena or download free
  • powerful data management
  • can handle large, complex datasets
  • high quality graphics
  • work in multiple files at once
  • excels at ANOVA, mixed models, multivariate analysis
  • excellent help resources
  • steep learning curve
  • limited support for survey data
  • difficult to find errors in commands
command line


(This is the UNIX version which can be difficult to use.)

  • easy to use
  • can handle complex analysis and data management
  • high quality graphics
  • excels at regression, robust methods, survey data analysis
  • fewer options for personalized programming
GUI & command line Athena, GIS Lab computer, or purchase through IS&T
  • very easy to use
  • high quality graphics
  • excels at ANOVA, multivariate analysis
  • complex or large datasets
  • limited data management tools
  • fewer options for personalized programming
GUI & syntax editor free for faculty and staff through IS&T
  • very easy to use
  • excels at data exploration and visualization
  • can be used to explore research designs
  • complex or large datasets
  • limited data management tools
  • limited programming options
GUI & syntax editor free for teaching and research through IS&T


Transfer data between programs

Overview of Statistical Software Workshop (January 2015)

Description: Do you need to analyze data, but are not sure which program to use? Have you been using one statistical software package for a while and are curious about others? We will learn the strengths and weaknesses of some statistical software programs, see a brief demo of each, and learn how to access them at MIT.

Materials from other workshops can be found here.