n Journal of Public Administration - Teaching software technology in the social sciences - quantitative (data) analysis and solutions

Special issue 2
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



A number of software tools for data management exist in the market. However, the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) seems to be most frequently used at tertiary institutions. This paper suggests that SPSS, or for that matter any other software programme aimed at simplifying quantitative research, should be a prescribed module in post-graduate curricula. Statistical software technology allows for scholarly access to the complexities of the binding element between phenomena. It empowers scholars and researchers to turn knowledge as the basis of their research into an understanding of complex phenomena. The skills to quantify social concepts are an intellectual area of concern in developing political systems, such as South Africa. Well-conducted research and data sets are perhaps both insufficient as well as rather expensive to obtain. It is also true that large volumes of data are generated, but not managed for purposes of scholarly understanding because of the limited capacity of research institutes. The perception that quantitative research requires advanced statistical experience, contributes to the inadequate interest in the discipline. This paper introduces the SPSS programme briefly and reflects on the conceptual qualities of simplification and understanding.

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