IBM SPSS Statistics offers many ways to help save time when analyzing data, particularly if you are continually performing the same types of analysis on similar sets of pools of data.
“Metadata Attributes” – Data attributes have properties associated with them, and these properties are defined in metadata.
During data analysis, documentation and transformation, an SPSS data “pool” will contain more than just its data values. What is referred to as the “SPSS Dictionary” can contain a variety of metadata attributes, including measurement level, display format, descriptive variable, and value labels, and special codes for missing values.
These “Metadata attributes” associated with the data file are saved by SPSS with the data file. Normally, you would have to re-create this information every time you obtain a new data file. To save time when using SPSS, you can copy these variable attributes from any saved SPSS Statistics data file to another. This process works by applying the variable and file properties from one file to the currently active dataset!
This can be done to:
- Create new variables in the active dataset based on variables in the external source data file.
- Apply variable properties from the external data file to variables with the same names in the active dataset.
- Apply selected variable properties (for example, defined value labels) from one variable in the external data file or the active dataset to multiple target variables in the active dataset.
To use this time saving process, it is as simple as selecting:
Data > Copy Data Properties…
From the SPSS Data Viewer menu. This invokes the “Copy Data Properties Wizard” which will step you through – it’s really that simple!
Until next time.