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Conclusions and Recommendations

One should not read too much from the Summary Table or the final totals since no weights have been added to the more important entries. However, the figures do reinforce some of the conclusions reached in the AGOCG report by the Edinburgh group. Deltagraph has a large range of graphs and charts and has good facilities for enhancing the appearance of graphs and charts and for creating presentations whereas Origin has the widest range of data analysis and transformation functions. If the tables for Data Handling, Data Transformation Functions and Data Reporting were extended to include all of the functions available to Origin users, the gap between Origin and the other packages in those tables would become much greater.

Sigmaplot is not recommended since there are simply too many gaps in the tables. Although the user interface and help pages initially made Sigmaplot an attractive proposition, the facts that it

mean that Sigmaplot cannot be considered to be the most suitable package for our environment.

If we were just to use the tables for the basis on which to make a recommendation, we would probably choose Deltagraph on the grounds that it does possess most facilities required for producing graphs and charts and for enhancing the appearance and that it is cheaper than Origin. Some of the Data Analysis and Data Reporting functions which are missing in Deltagraph could be accessed indirectly by using Microsoft Excel which is already available on our PC NT Managed Service.

However, unless SPSS quickly solves the particular problems we found when using Deltagraph on our NT Service (see the section Deltagraph) and unless SPSS can reassure us that they have a long term commitment to provide support and upgrades for Deltagraph, we are recommending that we approach the suppliers for a suitable deal to use Origin on the PC NT Managed Service for the following reasons:

We note that Origin is not as easy to use and that some of the help pages are very detailed. Since we have had a lot of experience in writing self teach guides for various packages, we could explore the possibility of adding a tutorial to the Origin menu. Also, we may find that there are teaching aids available from University sites who already have Origin. In this way, we would satisfy the requirement that the package is usable by students from all faculties in the University.