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Using SPSS

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Created: September 1, 2003
Latest Update: September 4, 2003

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Index of Topics on Site Kendrick on Using SPSS: Starting Out

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, September 2003.
"Fair use" encouraged.

Open SPSS either from your desktop if it is there, or by the Start button in the lower left corner of the task bar. SPSS opens with a dialogue box that ask if you want to open an existing file. Click the button for that option and click OK.

Choose the 1991 GSS as the file you want to use. Once the data editor appears on screen, click on utilities in the top horizontal menu. then click on variables, and for each variable you highlight the meaning of the values (numbers) in the table will be explained.

DK means the respondent Didn't Know replied that he/she Didn't Know the answer.

NA means that for some reason the interviewer judged the question did not apply to the respondent.

NAP means that this questions is one of those that wasn't asked of the group this respondent was included in. The survey group was divided into sections of 500. So when you see NAP, it means those 500 people weren't asked that question.

The numbers down the left hand side of the screen in the Data Editor are the ID numbers of each of the respondents. Although the survey is anonymous, each questionnaire has an ID number so you can compare variables for that person.

To do a frequency distribution, or to tell how many of the sample fell into a given category, link in the horizontal menu at the top to Analyze, then on Descriptive Statistics, then on Frequencies. Then scroll down the list of variables (the longer names will appear as you scroll down) and highlight the variable whose frequency you want. then link on the arrow to move that variable to the dialog box for analysis. Then click Ok, and the Data Output screen will appear to give you the frequency.

When you want to compare two variables to see how they relate to one another you link to Analyze, then to Crosstabs; that's the name for a two-way table. Again highlight a variable you want to use, move it with the arrow to either the row box or the column box. Then highlight your second variable and move it with the arrow to the other box.

I chose to see whether men were happier than women. Choose the variable Gender or Sex, and General Happiness. See what you find.