need to compare price data with other data and information types (agricultural
production, satellite imagery, field reports) to see if there is a convergence of
evidence (triangulation)
4.3 Selection of software to analyze and present price data
There are many types of software that can be used in the processing,  analysis, and
presentation of these data and information is important to determine early. The decision as
to whether a single, multi purpose software program or a series of software programs is
selected is dependent on many factors, including:
Does the software provide the range of functions?
Is there an easy linkage of the output from the software package to other
packages?
What software are other related institutions using to do this work?
What is the cost of the software?  Is it affordable by the NEWU?
Does anyone in the NEWU have experience with the software?
Can the available computer hardware support the efficient running of the
software?
The above questions should be carefully thought through, and kept in mind, when reviewing
the different software packages that are available.
There are many different software options that will all work well in providing an efficient
system of data storage, processing, analysis, and presentation.  The best software is the one
or ones that allows these activities to proceed as quickly and effectively as possible.
Experience with specific software often makes it the best software to use.  Below is a brief
review of some different options that should be considered:
Spreadsheets
:  Software programs such as 
LOTUS
 and 
EXCEL
 the widest range
of features and functions necessary for price monitoring.  These types of
programs are well documented and reasonably easy to use.  The presentational
aspects of these programs can be cumbersome if many markets and products are
being monitored.  Macros can be developed and used to facilitate this activity,
but can be complicated for the novice user and may need updating each time the
software is upgraded (installation of a new version).  For the experienced
spreadsheet user, this is an attractive option since it can be used for data entry or
importation, processing, analysis, and presentation.
Statistical packages
: Software programs such as SPSS or SAS offer most of the
features and functions necessary for price monitoring.  These programs have
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