USING COMPUTER STATISTICAL PACKAGES
Contrary to popular belief, it's perfectly possible to carry out an analysis of all but very large studies by using nothing more than a pencil and paper. Many people have produced good quality small- to medium-size quantitative research without having the benefit of a computer, but, my goodness, it's tedious. Increasingly these days, quantitative researchers take advantage of appropriate computer programs in order to analyse data and this is what Helen did. Her university provided Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software which she loaded on to her home computer and after a few false starts she found the selected programs fairly easy to use. There are now a good many software packages on the market and your university or organization should be able to offer advice about which type is appropriate for your purpose.
You need to be careful about using statistical packages, however, the main problem being that once you've learnt how, it is really very easy to key in data and even easier for the computer to produce yards and yards of printouts. Yards of printouts can seduce us into believing that they all mean something of importance for our research. That can lead us to include everything which emerges in the vain hope that the examiner will pick out what really is relevant and what isn't. We find it is unwise to