News & Comment / In Brief


Commentary on Sad Stats

Alan M Batterham, School of Health and Social Care, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough TS1 3BA, UK. Email. Sportscience 10, 65, 2006 ( Published Dec 19. 2006.


In this brief article Hopkins provides a valuable overview of the limitations of some of the leading commercially available statistical software packages. The key questions when evaluating a package are: Does it do the analyses that you want it to do? Is it user-friendly? And does it give the right answer? The Sad Stats article covers these bases appropriately for the programs tested. The additional materials produced for SPSS are particularly interesting, given that in the UK at least it seems to be the most widely adopted platform for academic institutional licences. However, as Hopkins argues, the spreadsheets are likely a better way forward for nonusers of the full SAS package.

One potential problem I have encountered is the perceived air of credibility of commercial packages in comparison to the spreadsheets. This unjustified perception may in some instances prove a barrier to the adoption of these tools by students conducting research dissertations or colleagues analysing data for publication, if their supervisors or referees are uninitiated. The writing and publishing of companion articles to such spreadsheets in peer-reviewed print journals will help to surmount this barrier. An example is the recent article by Batterham and Hopkins, co-published here and in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance.


Batterham AM, Hopkins WG (2006). Making meaningful inferences about magnitudes. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance 1, 50-57

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