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GenStat (General Statistical)


Functionality Background Licence availability, restrictions &
links to distributor

The package provides access to a wide range of statistical procedures, with the design and analysis of experiments a major strength, and facilities also available for statistical modelling, time series, spatial analysis and many other specialist areas. The menu-based interface enables inexperienced users to access most of these facilities a select from various sensible options, while more experienced users can use the underlying programming language to develop more complex analyses.
Although it is menu-based it includes a programming language that allows development of novel statistical analysis approaches.
Includes a good graphical capability and easy transfer of data to and from other packages, including Excel. A focus of the development team is in encouraging “good statistical practise”, rather than the simple application of statistical methods!

GenStat was developed within the agricultural
research community in the UK and Australasia but is now much more widely used
in a range of research environments, and is increasingly being used in
academia. An initial focus on designed
experiments has now expanded to cover most main-stream statistical methods. A recent innovation is the “Teaching and
Learning” version that provides a “cut-down version of the software for use in
schools and taught university courses.

A multi-user license for the full version of GenStat is currently purchased by the School of Life Sciences, with stand-alone licenses owned elsewhere within the University. A license for the “Teaching and Learning” version was purchased (no cost) by the Faculty of Science. Access is available through the IT group in the School of Life Sciences. This version is only avialble to be used for taught course students, and should not be used for research applications.

GenStat is marketed by VSN International (, their website contains a range of additional resources including access to taught courses using the software, and for teaching.


Note on General Purpose Statistical Packages:

Broadly, these packages offer the user an easy way of applying standard estimation, confidence interval and hypothesis testing techniques to general data, usually input in the form of a spreadsheet.

Please share your experiences and examples of how you have used this software by leaving a comment below, to help others choose the right software for their research requirements.