Choosing Survey Analysis Software
The easiest option for analyzing survey data is usually to use the analysis tools that come for free in the Data Collection Software that has been used to collect the data. Where only rudimentary analysis is required, such as working out the proportion of people to select each option, this is usually the best approach. However, if there is a need to share reporting with others, to fix problems with the data or to conduct more sophisticated analyses, it is generally necessary to use software specifically designed for the analysis of survey data.
General-purpose software for analyzing surveys
Most people that analyze surveys do so using general-purpose survey analysis software. Some of the main programs for doing this are described in the table below. The next table provides an overview of more specialized types of software used in survey analysis.
The best way to evaluate whether the software is likely to be useful is via having a trial. This link takes you to tutorials which you can use to evaluate the different programs.
|Program||Typical user||Key features||Key limitations|
|DataCracker[note 1]||Little or no experience in analyzing surveys||Ease of use and sharing results|| Creation of complex crosstabs is less flexible than in WinCross, Survey Reporter and MarketSight
Does not support Tracking studies
|MarketSight||Market research consultants and the internal research departments of large companies|| Easy to learn/use
Quickly create large numbers of crosstabs
|No advanced analysis|
|Q[note 2]||Market research consultants and the internal research departments of large companies|| Easier to learn and use than SPSS
Weighting Automation (e.g., exporting to office, updating trackers)
|Creation of complex crosstabs is less flexible than in WinCross, Survey Reporter and MarketSight|
|Survey Reporter||Market research consultants and the internal research departments of large companies||Well-integrated with SPSS data collection products|| No Advanced analysis
Assumes you have access to a DP department that uses SPSS data collection products
|WinCross||Market research consultants||Efficient and flexible creation of crosstabs|| No advanced analysis
Requires the user to do 'programming'
|SPSS Statistics||Market research consultants, internal research departments, statisticians and 'advanced quant' teams||More than 10 times as many features as the programs listed above||Difficult-to-learn and generally less efficient to use than the other programs listed above|
|R||Statisticians and 'advanced quant' teams|| Automation
More features than any of the other programs on this table
| Poor at creating crosstabs
Almost everything has to be done by 'programming' which makes it very slow to use relative to the other programs
Overview of specialty survey analysis software
|Types of data analysis software||General-purpose survey analysis software||Data Processing Software||Variance Estimation Software||General-purpose statistical software||Data collection software that can can conduct basic analyses|
|Typical users||Consultants, marketers, market researchers||Data Processors (DP) people that create large numbers of crosstabs for their clients (where the clients are typically market research consultancies)||Statisticians||Statisticians and similar data analysis professionals||Students, industry associations, HR, small businesses conducting their own research|
SPSS Custom Tables
SPSS Survey Reporter
Generalized Estimation System (GES)
R packages: survey and pps
| SPSS Statistics
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