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Data and Statistics: Training and Resources

This guide helps you get started learning about data and statistics, how to find data and statistics and how to cite them.

Web Resources

Statistics Canada Finding the Data provides quick tips in locating information on the Statistics Canada website and introduces resources to assist you with your research. A great guidance for harnessing the full potential of resources on Statistics Canada. 

ICPSR Resources for Students provides a variety of resources for learning how to find, cite, and analyze data, including webinars and tutorials on accessing and using ICPSR resources. 

Data Manipulation and Analysis Tools

  • Excel is the most widely accepted spreadsheet program. Excel is so easy-to-use for many basic data analysis and simplest descriptive statistics, but not an ideal choice for inferential statistics.  

  • Stata is a powerful statistical software that enables users to analyze, manage, and produce graphical visualizations of data. It is primarily used by researchers in the fields of economics, biomedicine, and political science to examine data patterns. It has both a command line and graphical user interface making the use of the software more intuitive. 

  • SAS is a likely choice for a person who manages complex data sets on a continuous basis. It is especially strong in analysis of variance (ANOVA), the general linear model, and their extensions. There are few statistical or graphic tasks that you cannot do in SAS.

    • ​ SAS Tutorials by UCLA : prepared by Academic Technology Services in UCLA. It has a Starter Kit for beginners. 

  • SPSS is a complex and powerful statistical program, yet very friendly to users. SPSS is able to perform essentially any types of statistical analysis ever used in the social sciences, in the business world, and in other scientific disciplines. (George and Mallery, 2011). 

    • ​ Research Commons SPSS: The UBC Library Research Commons offers SPSS workshops and one-on-one consultations on regular basis. 

  • Jupyter Notebooks is a web application that allows you to run and share code (primarily Python) just using a browser. UBC researchers and their trainees can access a Jupyter environment for scientific computation and data science via

  • R acts as an alternative to traditional statistical packages such as SPSS, SAS, and Stata such that it is an extensible, open-source language and computing environment for Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, and Linux platforms. Such software allows for the user to freely distribute, study, change, and improve the software under the Free Software Foundation's GNU General Public License. R performs a wide variety of basic to advanced statistical and graphical techniques at little to no cost to the user. These advantages over other statistical software encourage the growing use of R in cutting edge social science research. 

  • Beyond 20/20 is a software that allows users to manipulate the data. Through it you can compare specific variables you are interested in when browsing census data. Most census data is now freely available to the public via the Statistics Canada website. Some of the files, however, require Beyond 20/20.

    •  Beyond 20/20 : introductory instructions on this software. 

  • Nesstar is a powerful tool for analyzing the data on Abacus. It empowers you to conduct some online analysis based on the variables you are interested in. You may find an introduction to a few basic functions of Nesstar on the page of "Survey Data" in this guide. 

    •  Nesstar: check out this website if you want to know more. 

  • SDA is a powerful tool for searching, accessing, and analyzing the data on ICPSR. 

George, D., & Mallery, P. (2011). SPSS for windows step by step: A simple guide and reference 18.0 update (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon/Pearson.

Data Analysis Software Help

Are you starting research or working on a project that uses data?  

The UBC Library Research Commons can assist you with using SPSS through monthly workshops and one-on-one consultations. Check out the Research Commons guide (under Research Data Analysis Software & Management - SPSS) for more information. 

Statistical Methodology Help

Do you need basic help with interpreting the outcomes when you are running SPSS? Check out A Students' Guide to Interpreting SPSS Output for Basic Analysis.

For more advanced questions about statistical methodology, the Applied Statistics and Data Science Group (ASDa) can provide provide consulting services for UBC students and faculty. Note that depending on the scale and nature of your research, there may a charge for the service.

Statistical Software Locations

Koerner Library 217
SPSS and R software are available on the PC workstations in Room 217. The room is accessible on a first-come, first-served basis any time that Koerner Library is open and there isn't a class being held in the room. To check room availability, please check the calendar of events. For more information, please see our K217 web page.

Data/GIS Lab
ArcGIS Suite and statistical software (including SPSS, R, and Stata) are available in the Data/GIS Lab in Koerner Library, Room 218A (second floor). The lab is available Monday through Friday from 10:00am to 5:00pm on a first-come-first-served basis for those needing access to GIS and statistical software.

Please note:  There is quiet conversation in this room during the Research Commons consultation hours.