Python is a programming language, which allows developers to develop their own scripts for statistical analyses. This has three significant benefits. First, whenever a new statistic is created, researchers can immediately create an associated Python module to perform the analysis. This enables new analyses to be shared quickly. Second, if an existing Python module is confusing or incorrect, anyone can create a new module for the same analysis that is easier to use or correct. While people who do not know a programming language (or R) are often reliant on the program creators to implement new statistics, knowing Python can enable users to develop their own modules. Third, Python can do more than statistical analyses alone, enabling users to do some really cool things like data scraping.
So what is the first step of using Python? Downloading Python! The current guide is a brief explanation to downloading Python. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at MHoward@SouthAlabama.edu. I would be happy to help you out.
To find the correct website for Python, you can just search Google for the term “Python”. Or, you can click on the following link: https://www.python.org/ . On this page, you should hover over the text that says, “Downloads”, and then click on the button that lists the most recent release (as seen in the picture below). When this guide was made, the most recent release was Python 3.10.1, but Python updates relatively quickly and I am sure that a new version is out by the time that you are reading this.
Once you click this button, a download window will pop up. Click on “Save File”.
Find the location to which your new file was saved. Double click on it.
In the new window that opens up, click on install now.
From here, just install it as a normal program. It will take a few minutes. If the installation is successful, you should see the following window.
As you’ll see in the window above, there is an option to “Disable path length limit”. It is up to you whether you click this button or not. It can make your life easier when using Python, but it may also make your created programs to be unusable on older version of Windows and/or versions without this option enabled. From what I have read elsewhere, most people say to click the button and disable the path length limit, but don’t blame me if your programs don’t work!
That’s all for installing Python. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at MHoward@SouthAlabama.edu. Otherwise, enjoy writing code in Python and look for other guides about Python on MattCHoward.com!