Switching undergrad class from SPSS... any advice?

Discuss the jamovi platform, possible improvements, etc.

by cperdue » Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:13 pm

Next semester I'm switching my undergraduate statistics courses to Jamovi after having used SPSS for many years. I'm in the process of converting my SPSS assignments, and I'm not anticipating much difficulty, but I thought that I'd solicit comments or advice from anyone who has made a similar change....

Can anyone think of anything in particular that's likely to present a problem, or be an issue in converting undergraduate students from SPSS? Just looking for advice from more experienced users...

Charles Perdue
West Virginia State University
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by jonathon » Thu Dec 12, 2019 10:09 pm


so the main themes i hear from people are that the challenges of migration come mostly from an institutional level. i.e. staff don't want to change, etc. staff are often strongly opposed ... *until* they actually try jamovi out.

that's usually the turning point ... when they actually use jamovi and go "oh, this is actually pretty nice" (but it can take *months* to get them to just try it).

the feedback from students who have previously used spss is overwhelmingly positive about jamovi, and if there is ongoing concerns at your institution, students often end up being the strongest advocates.

... as for jamovi itself ... it generally just works :)

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by reason180 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:53 am

I've already (mostly) switched from using SPSS to using jamovi for teaching undergraduate stats. However, I still need to use SPSS in class for two essential things.

(1) Plotting data. Though jamovi plots are quite amazing, I always emphasize to students how essential it is to have the same axis ranges when presenting and comparing two related plots. However, jamovi does not let the user specify the axis range of a plot whereas SPSS does.
(2) Restructuring data from long to wide or from wide to long format. This is something that SPSS does easily, but that jamovi cannot yet do.
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by SMackinnon » Tue Dec 17, 2019 5:36 pm

I'm going to be starting this in the winter term, doing the same thing... so I'll more to say once it went live!

The actual analyses are very straightforward, so that's great. The two stuck points for me were:

a) Limited database management functionality (e.g., restructuring, recoding) relative to SPSS
b) Still limited plotting capabilities, especially for customizing plots

My way around this was to integrate some R into teaching alongside jamovi, specifically teaching tidyverse's dplyr and ggplot2 as a supplement to jamovi. jamovi does integrate pretty nicely with R, especially with the Rj editor. But as you know, R coding can be quite the learning curve, so I suppose I'll see how it goes!
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by iainjgallagher » Tue Dec 17, 2019 6:51 pm


I've run a couple of years of teaching sports & ex science students jamovi after they had an intro stats class a couple of years previously. Overall they loved jamovi for its relative simplicity, accessibility and just general 'usableness'. I can't really say I've had many issues. In fact we've had more issues with excel for some data prep stuff (I like the idea of incorporating some R mentioned above). I would second Jonathon's comment about getting staff to switch but those that have seen jamovi in action or used it really liked it.
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by reason180 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:43 pm

A potential complication is that universities in the U.S. are beginning to ban, from teaching labs, software that is not certified to meet accessibility standards. See https://www.section508.gov/sell/vpat

This is a problem I may be confronting very soon.
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