Need SPSS help? This article is a brief introduction to the program. SPSS, also known as PASW (Predictive Analytic Software), is a program that works with statistics. It is a popular program for those doing research, analyzing data, and working on theses. Since SPSS and statistics go hand in hand, you should be familiar with statistics.
Statistics is a set of mathematical techniques that can be used to summarize research data and determine whether or not the data supports the researcher’s hypothesis. When working with any type of research, there are certain stages that every individual should anticipate.
The first phase is the planning and design phase, which will take place prior to the launch of SPSS. In this phase, you focus on a specific research area, develop a hypothesis, and identify a sample population on which to conduct your research.
The second stage is collecting data. Field work such as observation and the distribution of surveys and questionnaires are common at this stage. The collected data is entered into SPSS for interpretation.
The third stage, data analysis, and the fourth stage, reporting, are the only stages that use SPSS. Analyzing data consists of conducting various types of tests while reporting involves writing some type of ready-made paper or report.
To start working with SPSS, first start the program. These instructions assume that you are working with the program on a computer with a Windows operating system. Please note that individual steps may differ. To get started, click on the start button in the bottom left corner of the screen. Point your mouse to all programs. Point to SPSS Inc. and then to PASW Statistics 17 (or whatever version of the program is installed on your computer). Click PASW Statistics 17 to start the program. After the program starts, a PASW Statistics 17 dialog box appears. Click the Cancel button to close this window. This will place you in an empty data file titled “Untitled1”.
For those viewing SPSS for the very first time, the program interface can be overwhelming. In fact, it’s not much harder to use than your average spreadsheet program. We’re now going to look at the interface to help you understand how to navigate through your files. As with all programs, the top bar consists of the title bar, which shows the running program and the filename being worked on. At the top right of the window are the buttons to minimize, maximize/restore and close our program window. Just below the title bar is the menu bar, which groups the program’s features into groups of common traits, with an inner workings of submenus and options for analyzing our data. Below the menu bar is the toolbar, a set of commonly used functions derived from the menu bar and placed prominently for easy access and use.
Do the rows and columns in the program window remind you of another program interface? SPSS uses rows and columns similar to Excel. In SPSS, by default, each column is labeled “var,” which is short for variable. The variables are the survey items, or the questions you ask respondents. Each row of the table corresponds to a case. A case contains all responses for each respondent to your survey, questionnaire, etc.
While Excel can have an unlimited number of tabs, SPSS is limited to just two: Data View and Variable View. These two tabs are visible in the lower left area of the SPSS window. On the Data View tab, users enter the raw data collected from surveys, questionnaires, observations, or other forms of collection. The Variable View tab can be viewed as a management window. Variables are defined here. On this tab you assign variable names and types and select the appropriate attributes.
The variable type determines how cases are entered. The String type is used when responses consist of “strings” of characters, or in other words, “words”. Use the String type to record variables such as respondent names. The numeric type can be used when numeric answers are expected. Variables such as GPA and age often use a numeric type. Another variable type is called dollar. This type is used with variables such as salary or cost. There are other variable types such as date and scientific notation. Assign each of these types when recording dates and numbers in scientific notation. In the variable view, users can also assign a variable label. In this cell, enter a sentence that explains what the variable represents. You can also enter your poll question. A variable label is optional.
After you assign variable names, types, and labels to the variables in your survey or questionnaire, users can begin entering data for analysis. Remember to save your data file often by going to the file menu and then clicking save. SPSS uses its own file type called a .sav file. In case of emergency, create and save a backup copy of your file on a flash drive or external hard drive.
Although this article will not go into the details of individual tests and analyses, it is worth remembering that the results of the tests appear in a separate subprogram section called the Output Window. All results such as tables or charts in the output window must be saved separately. If you close SPSS and don’t save the results of your output window, you’ll have to re-create all the charts, tables, etc. So make sure to save all results in a separate “.spv” file.
Thanks to John Kwan | #SPSS #Introduction #SPSS