Are you still trying to decide which statistical package to use for your research project? Take a quick tip from one of our consultants to help make your decision:

These are some of the pros and cons of using SPSS or Stata for your research analyses.


SPSS is good for managing basic datasets and if you are not going to do cutting-edge statistical analysis.  Its biggest advantage is that it is user friendly because its layout is so much like the familiar Excel spreadsheet.

Although both SPSS and Stata have a menu-driven option, the point and click menus in SPSS are the easiest to learn. You could say that SPSS has moved away from an academic research focus and seems to invest more of its development in marketing-oriented graphics. Many NGO’s, banks and related type entities would most likely not use SPSS for their work and would choose Stata over it.

SPSS’s graphics are very professional and they look appealing. The great thing about graphics generated on SPSS is that you can edit them as you please (colors, labels, size, etc).

SPSS screenshot


This program is widely used in NGO’s, banks and many other organizations that require data analysis. It is best for complex statistical analyses. Unlike SPSS’s “drop-down menu” feature, Stata tends to be more “command-based”.

The first window you encounter will not be the friendly table layout that you may be used to seeing in Excel. The layout may catch you by surprise, but once you get used to what each window tells you, it becomes fairly easy to use. It has a command window in which you can type exactly what you want to do (i.e. for a regression between two variables named “infmort” and “doctors” you would type: “reg infmort doctors”, hit Enter and your regression analysis pops up).  It is very intuitive and produces very professional output tables.

Stata screenshot

If you can’t decide which program to use for your analysis, consider even using both.  As always, ask a consultant for help if you need further assistance!