## User Interface

Create a new folder in your network drive Z. You can use it during

this course to save your SPSS-related work such as graphs, tables and

your interpretations. Open the executable SPSS version PASW 18. Explore

and familiarize yourself with the views and menus of SPSS. The Data

Editor window has two views, between which you can select by clicking

on the Data View and Variable View tabs in the bottom left corner of

the window. What’s the difference between these two views? Find out

also, what are the Syntax and Output windows.

- SPSS Windows, Menus and Toolbars.
- On SPSS Data vs. Variable view, see SPSS Tutorial
*Help/Tutorial/Using the Data Editor/Using the Data Editor*

## Entering Data

Do you remember the difference between continuous and categorical

variables? Create variables in SPSS’s Variable

View based on the background questions in the sample questionnaire.

Give the variables both a name and a label. The name can’t be longer

than 8 characters and the maximum length of a label is 255 characters. (Actually they can be longer, but if you want to keep your data compatible with older versions of SPSS, it might be a good idea to keep to these limits.) Descriptive and thought-out variable names and labels make the data

much more accessible to others, and even to yourself, if you find

yourself coming back to a data you haven’t looked at for a while.

If the variable doesn’t need decimal notation, change the amount of

decimals to zero from the default setting of two digits. If the

variable is categorized, enter the category labels at the column

marked “Values” by clicking the cell first, and then clicking the grey

dotted box. The variable type is mostly self-explanatory: the type is

set to “string”, when the variable contents are non-numeric, such as

answers to open-ended questions.

Enter the questionnaire data from all of the six respondents to SPSS. You need

to use the Data View for this. Enter the values one observational unit

(i.e., one row in SPSS Data View) at a time. Save the data in your course folder

(*File/Save As*).

- On entering data, see SPSS tutorial
*Help/Tutorial/Using the Data Editor/Entering Numeric Data*and*Help/Tutorial/Using the Data Editor/Defining Data* - An explanation on the differences of discrete and continuous variables, levels of measurement, and continuous and categorical variables

## Examining Basic Statistics

Recall the possible levels of measurement for variables, and what kind

of statistics can be calculated from variables of different levels of

measurement.

Open the course data, and save it in your course

folder. From now on, we will use this data for all

exercises. Familiarize yourself with the variables by examining the

variables and questions. While looking through

the questions, think about the variable classes. Which of the variables are

categorical, and which are continuous?

Pick a couple of variables from the data, for example Gender (gndr), Father’s highest level of education (edulvlf), Hours you spend studying, how many an average term-time week (stdhrsw), and examine some of

their descriptive statistics such as mean, standard deviation, minimum and

maximum (*Analyze/Descriptive Statistics/Frequencies or Analyze/Descriptive
Statistics/Descriptives*).

Contemplate on the various interpretations the different statistics can

have, and write a short summary on them.

Hint: When using the dialog window instead of the Syntax window to choose variables in SPSS, sometimes it’s rather frustrating trying to find the variable you’re looking for. If you know the letter the variable description begins with, you can press that letter on your keyboard to cycle through the variables. To see the full variable description, hover the mouse pointer over the variable in question. E.g. when trying to find the variable ‘stdhrsw’ you would keep pressing ‘h’ until you see a description that begins like ‘Hours you spend studying…’.

- <a href="http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/statdesc.htm"Descriptive statistics
- Levels of measurement

## Graphs and Histograms

Bar graphs can be used to examine the distributions of discrete

variables. Pick one discrete variable and make a bar graph

(*Graphs/Legacy Dialogs/Bar/Simple*). Move your variable to the slot labeled

“*Category Axis*“. Examine the bar frequencies and write a short

analysis based on your findings.

A histogram can be used to display distributions of continuous

variables. Pick one variable, and draw a histogram

(*Graphs/Legacy Dialogs/Histogram*). Move your variable to the slot labeled

“*Variable*“. Examine the resulting histogram. Does the

variable appear to be normally distributed?