SPSS Made Ridiculously Easy: A Step by Step Guide on Using SPSS for Data Analysis

September 25 2018, By Chidi Rafael

Permit me to say this. ‘The Best thing that has ever happened to mankind after Sliced Bread is SPSS”! Yes, I mean Statistical Package for Social Sciences.

As a Research Assistant working in a purely Mechanised University, I could sense a significant relationship between Data Analysis (Using SPSS) and frustration among Final Year Students. I mean, Students just get moody by just the mere mention of Data Analysis. At one point, A student literally forgot her Project Topic she has been working on for the past 4 months. Lol.

Let me pause and ask a question…what if I told You that Analyzing Data with SPSS is easy as ABC? Would You Believe? Sure, you can ridicule it, come out with good grades, and most importantly, save time and money.

Now, what You are about to read here is the simplest tutorial You can find on the World Wide Web on SPSS. Trust me. I have a special anointing for breaking complex issues to its simplest form. Lol.

This article will be broken down into various segments. If You are a beginner and new to SPSS, you can keep reading. This article will provide you with the basics to get You started with SPSS. However, if You need some advance stuffs like making Inferential Statistics with SPSS, kindly Click Here.

As Usual, Enjoy!

For starters, let get an overview of the software.

Figure 1.0

Credit: IBM SPSS Statistics

From Figure 1.0 Above, we can pick out two things:

1. The Software is cool and totally awesome.

2. Two Buttons were highlighted-The Data View and the Variable View.

The Data View Tab is where the actual results or data is inputted while, the Variable View is used for setting up the variable(s) and coding of data.
The Variable View looks like this:

Credit: IBM SPSS Statistics

The are 11 columns in the Variable View and they serve various purposes. These columns are described as below:

1. Name: This is where you insert the Variable Name.
2. Type: This column is for the data type or variable type.
3. Width: This is where you set the width of the table, chart etc.
4. Decimals: Use this column to set decimal places for numbers.
5. Labels: Use Label to title of the data set or chart.
6. Values: This is where the actual coding of data is done.
7. Missing: incomplete data or un-returned questionnaires can be entered here.
8. Align: This is where choose the positioning of the table or chart.
9. Measure: Data measurement Scale applied for the variable.
10. Role: How the Independent and dependent variable should display and be used.

Illustration
Alright, let us put everything we have learnt so far into practice with some illustration.

Example 1
A survey was carried out on the reading preference of Undergraduates in the University of Abuja. A sample size of 10 respondents was used for the survey. A tabular representation of the Gender of the participants is as follows:

 Gender Frequency Male 3 Female 7 Total 10

Required: Compute the results using SPSS.

Solution to Example 1
This problem could be computed in SPSS within 2 minutes without stress or bogus calculations. Just follow the steps below:

Step 1
Open SPSS, Click on ‘Variable View’.

Step 2
Under the ‘Name’ Column, enter the Variable Name. In this case ‘Gender’ Could serve as a variable name.

Step 3
Allow the Variable Type to be Numeric by default.

Step 4
Allow the Width and Decimals to be the default values (Unless you want to customize to your taste).

Step 5
Enter a Label Name. In this case my label Name could be ‘Gender Distribution of Respondents’.

Step 6
Under the ‘Values’ Column, you need to code your data. We can code 1 to represent ‘Male’, and 2 to represent ‘Female’.

This is shown below:

Credit: IBM SPSS Statistics

Once this is done, you click on the ‘Add’ button and repeat step for ‘Female’. Then click on ‘OK’.

Other Columns such as Missing, Columns, Align, Measure and Role can be left at default, unless you need them to customize your report or deal with other variable/data types.

Step 7
Click on the ‘Data View’ Tab and enter your results as shown below:

Credit: IBM SPSS Statistics

Note: Number 1 (which represents ‘Male’) was repeated 3 times (frequency) because we had 3 Male Participants, and Number 2 (Which represents ‘Female’) was repeated 7 times (frequency) because we had 7 Female Participants for the study.

Step 8
Now this is the moment of Glory! The magic happens when you click on the ‘Analyze’ button at the top left of the software.

Analyze>Descriptive>Frequencies.

Credit: IBM SPSS Statistics

Step 9
Push the Variable ‘Gender Distribution’ to the right side of the screen by clicking on the heighted button shown below:

Credit: IBM SPSS Statistics

Step 10
Finally, if you need some statistical elements or charts (such as pie chart, bar chart etc) associated with your table, click on the ‘Statistics and ‘Chart’ buttons.

Click ‘OK’ for the results to be displayed in the SPSS Output Screen. You should get something like the image below if you followed the steps correctly.

Credit: IBM SPSS Statistics

How to Copy Tables and Charts to Microsoft Word
This is pretty easy. All you need to do is select the table, right click and select ‘Copy’. You can paste it where ever you need it to be.

I told you it is as easy as ABC. Still need to advance? Read Making Inferential Statistics With SPSS for more advance stuffs in SPSS.