Follow the steps below to choose the most appropriate software to meet your needs.
- Identify what you want to achieve (discover data, analyze data, write a paper, etc.)
- Identify the necessary software features for your project (i.e. functional requirements)
- Identify logistics features of the software that are required, such as licensing, cost, time constraints, user expertise, etc. (i.e. non-functional requirements)
- Determine what software has been used by others with similar requirements
- Ask around (yes, really); find out what people like
- Find out what software your institution has licensed
- Search the web (e.g. directory services, open source sites, forums)
- Follow-up with independent assessment
- Generate a list of software candidates
- Evaluate the list; iterate back to Step 1 as needed
- As feasible, try a few software candidates that seem promising
By carefully considering software choice before a project begins, costs, requirements, and limitations can be addressed early in the data life cycle.