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New Software For PCs Helps Take Anxiety Out Of Statistics

In the last few years, developers of statistical software have tried hard to reach the nonstatistician. User-friendly, menu-driven programs, with high-resolution graphics to visualize the results of statistical analyses, are becoming increasingly available. And while software packages may not take the place of a fundamental understanding of statistics, they can help improve the statistical literacy of a scientist who understands the basics. Many of the software manuals include detailed explanat

Rebecca Andrews
In the last few years, developers of statistical software have tried hard to reach the nonstatistician. User-friendly, menu-driven programs, with high-resolution graphics to visualize the results of statistical analyses, are becoming increasingly available. And while software packages may not take the place of a fundamental understanding of statistics, they can help improve the statistical literacy of a scientist who understands the basics. Many of the software manuals include detailed explanations of procedures, and the ease of using some packages may encourage brave researchers to experiment with an unfamiliar routine.

These newer programs are a far cry from the statistics programs many scientists cut their teeth on in graduate school--programs with little or no graphics, driven by batch files of nonintuitive commands. Take, for example, a drug company researcher who is running an experiment comparing the effects of two drug formulations on two groups of rats, a control group and a...

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