Computer aid for quantitative data analysis, Operation Research

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Computer  Aid for  Quantitative Data Analysis

Until the  advent of powerful personal  computers data were  analyzed  either by hand or by  using  mainframe computers. The former of these  was extremely time consuming  Fortunately  the  by hand or calculator number crunching and charting  elements of quantitative analysis have been  incorporated into relatively inexpensive personal element computer  based analysis  software. These range from spreadsheets such as  excel and lotus 1 2- 3 to more advanced data management and statistical analysis software packages such as  Minitab SAS, SPSS for windows and stat view. They also include more specialized survey design  and analysis  packages such as snap and sphinx survey. Consequently it is no longer  necessary  for you  to be able to draw  presentation quality diagrams or to calculate statistics by  hand as  these  can be  done by computer.

Survey  design and  analysis software  such as  snap and sphinx survey goes  one stage further and  integrates the  analysis software  in the  same package as  the questionnaire  design data  input  software.

Virtually all analysis software will accept data if  they are entered in table format. This table is called a data matrix. Once  data have been  entered into analysis software it is usually  possible  to save them  in a format that can  be read  by other software. Within  a data matrix each column  usually  represents  a single  variable for which  you have obtained data. Each matrix row contains the variables for an  individual  case that is  an individual init for which data  has been  obtained. If  your data have  been collected using  a survey each  row  will contain the data from one survey form. Alternatively for  longitudinal data such  as a company  share price  over time  each row ( case) might  be a different time  period. Secondary data that have already been stored in computer  readable form will almost  always be  held  as a large data matrix. For  such data sets you usually   select the subset of variable form will almost  always require and save these  on a disk as a separate matrix. If you are entering your own data they are typed  directly into  your  chosen analysis software one case ( row) at a time. We recommend that you save  your  data regularly  as you are entering it  to minimize the chance of  deleting it all  by accident in addition you should  keep  a back  up or  security  copy  on a  separate disk.


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