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Data & Intelligence

Using IBM SPSS Statistics to Analyze Your Data


No matter what the tool or technology used, data analysis always involves 4 simple steps:

  • Pull together data,
  • Pick the appropriate analysis process or procedure to be performed on that data,
  • Point out (designate) the variables in the data that you are interested in and finally, after performing the selected process, you can
  • Peruse the results.

IBM SPSS Statistics is a complete and comprehensive system for analyzing your data:

Pulling your data together

When you start STATISTICS, a dialog box opens; prompting you to access data or run a tutorial (you can turn this off so it does display each time you start up Statistics). Click the Cancel button to close this dialog. One window, the Data Editor is then displayed. The Data Editor window will contain the data to be analyzed and by the way, at least one Data Editor Window must be open in each Statistics session.

Data files come in a wide variety of formats, and SPSS Statistics can handle many of them, including:

  • Spreadsheets created with Excel and Lotus
  • Database tables from many database sources, including Oracle, SQLServer, Access, dBASE, and others
  • Tab-delimited and other types of simple text files
  • Data files in IBM® SPSS Statistics format created on other operating systems
  • SYSTAT data files
  • SAS data files
  • Stata data files

To pull your data in (to Statistics) you can (From the menus) choose:

Data Intelligence - The Future of Big Data
The Future of Big Data

With some guidance, you can craft a data platform that is right for your organization’s needs and gets the most return from your data capital.

Get the Guide

File > Open > Data…

Then, in the Open Data dialog box, select the file that you want to open.

Picking (the appropriate) analysis process

In SPSS Statistics, the Analyze menu contains the list of reporting and statistical analysis categories. Most of the categories are followed by an arrow, which indicates that there are several analysis procedures available within the category; they will appear on a submenu when the category is selected.

To select a procedure, select Analyze, an analysis category, and then the procedure. The procedure dialog will open.

Point out (designate) the variables

The variables are selected and the procedure is run from the procedure dialog box. Most procedure dialog boxes have the same basic components and contain a number of common features. These common components include:

  • Source variables in the data
  • Target variables selected for analysis
  • Moves  selected variable(s) to the target list
  • Control buttons and
  • Sub dialog boxes for optional specifications

Peruse (the results)

Once the data has been loaded, the procedure is picked (and run on the variables); you can “peruse” the results. In SPSS, the results are displayed in a separate window named the “Output Viewer” window. The Viewer window has two sections or panes. The outline pane on the left side contains an outline or list of all items displayed in the contents pane on the right. You can quickly go to any item in the Viewer by selecting it in the outline pane on the left.


Data Analysis can be simplified and automated using IBM SPSS Statistics – its worth a look!


Jim Miller

Mr. Miller is an IBM certified and accomplished Senior Project Leader and Application/System Architect-Developer with over 30 years of extensive applications and system design and development experience. His current role is National FPM Practice Leader. His experience includes BI, Web architecture & design, systems analysis, GUI design and testing, Database modeling and systems analysis, design, and development of Client/Server, Web and Mainframe applications and systems utilizing: Applix TM1 (including TM1 rules, TI, TM1Web and Planning Manager), dynaSight - ArcPlan, ASP, DHTML, XML, IIS, MS Visual Basic and VBA, Visual Studio, PERL, Websuite, MS SQL Server, ORACLE, SYBASE SQL Server, etc. His Responsibilities have included all aspects of Windows and SQL solution development and design including: analysis; GUI (and Web site) design; data modeling; table, screen/form and script development; SQL (and remote stored procedures and triggers) development and testing; test preparation and management and training of programming staff. Other experience includes development of ETL infrastructure such as data transfer automation between mainframe (DB2, Lawson, Great Plains, etc.) systems and client/server SQL server and Web based applications and integration of enterprise applications and data sources. In addition, Mr. Miller has acted as Internet Applications Development Manager responsible for the design, development, QA and delivery of multiple Web Sites including online trading applications, warehouse process control and scheduling systems and administrative and control applications. Mr. Miller also was responsible for the design, development and administration of a Web based financial reporting system for a 450 million dollar organization, reporting directly to the CFO and his executive team. Mr. Miller has also been responsible for managing and directing multiple resources in various management roles including project and team leader, lead developer and applications development director. Specialties Include: Cognos/TM1 Design and Development, Cognos Planning, IBM SPSS and Modeler, OLAP, Visual Basic, SQL Server, Forecasting and Planning; International Application Development, Business Intelligence, Project Development. IBM Certified Developer - Cognos TM1 (perfect score 100% on exam) IBM Certified Business Analyst - Cognos TM1

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