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:
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!