SPSS Statistics For Dummies, 4th Edition
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In this example, you start SPSS Statistics Version 27 and then open up a dataset (in this case, the bankloan.sav data file). You get a brief look at the SPSS graphic user interface.

To begin, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Start→All Programs→IBM SPSS Statistics→SPSS Statistics 27. The SPSS Welcome dialog shown here appears. This is where you can see what’s new in the software, provide user feedback, and navigate to data files. You'll open one the sample SPSS data files.

    The SPSS Welcome screen The SPSS Welcome dialog


  2. Click the Sample Files tab in the lower-left corner of the dialog.
  3. Select the bankloan.sav data file and then click Open.
The bankloan dataset consists of 12 variables and 850 cases. The following figure shows the first few lines of the dataset. Note the structure of the data. Respondents who participated in the research make up the rows, and information about the respondents such as age and income constitute the columns.

Typically, SPSS uses not rows and columns for the data, but cases and variables, respectively. Cases represent the units of analysis, and variables represent the items that have been measured.

dataset in SPSS Statistics The bankloan dataset.

In SPSS, the Data Editor window makes up only one of the three main windows in the program. The others follow:

  • Data Editor: Contains the data to be analyzed
  • Output Viewer: Displays the results of an analysis or graph
  • Syntax Editor: Contains the code used to modify or create variables, as well as the commands to run analyses or graphs
The Data Editor window is comprised of two views:
  • Data view: Displays data with cases in rows and variables in columns
  • Variable view: Displays detailed variable information, with variables represented in rows and variable attributes represented in columns
The data view of the Data Editor window has various menus:
  • File: Opens various types of files
  • Edit: Performs the standard cut, copy, and paste Windows functions
  • View: Changes fonts and gridlines
  • Data: Performs data manipulations that modify the number of cases
  • Transform: Performs data manipulations that modify the number of variables
  • Analyze: Runs reports and statistical tests
  • Graphs: Creates charts
  • Utilities: Improves efficiency
  • Extensions: Allows for SPSS to be used with programming languages
  • Window: Toggles between windows
  • Help: Provides assistance

What’s new in SPSS Statistics Version 27

SPSS version 27 has been released recently. This new edition features statistical enhancements for quantile regression, effect sizes, and MATRIX commands and two new statistical procedures: power analysis and Cohen’s weighted Kappa, as well as various productivity and usability enhancements. Starting in version 27, the Custom Tables module is part of the standard edition and the Bootstrapping and Data Preparation modules are part of the base edition.

How to get help when you need it

You’re not alone. Some immediate help comes directly from the SPSS software package. More help can be found online. If you find yourself stumped, you can look for help in several places:
  • Topics: Choosing Help→Topics from the main window of the SPSS application is your gateway to immediate help. The help is somewhat terse, but it usually provides exactly the information you need. The information is in one large Help document, presented one page at a time. Choose Contents to select a heading from an extensive table of contents, choose Index to search for a heading by entering its name, or choose Search to enter a search string inside the body of the Help text.

In the Help directory, the titles in all uppercase are descriptions of Syntax language commands.

  • SPSS Support: Choose Help→Support to open a browser window for the support page at IBM. This area is primarily to report potential bugs or to check if anyone else has encountered the same bug. It's not the best option if you're struggling with a task on the first try.
  • SPSS Support Forums: Choose Help→SPSS Forums to open a browser showing the various support forums. IBM is putting a lot of resources into SPSS communities, which might have more activity over time than these forums.
  • PDF Documentation: Choose Help→Documentation in PDF Format if you want to access the many user’s guides for SPSS. This resource is online, but you can download them all to a folder on your machine if you want offline access to them.
  • Command Syntax Reference: Choose Help→Command Syntax Reference to display more than 2,000 pages of references to the Syntax language in your PDF viewer. The regular help topics, mentioned previously, provide a brief overview of each topic, but this document is more detailed.
  • Compatibility Report Tool: Choose Help→Compatibility Report Tool to answer a series of queries online to determine the compatibility of your software and hardware. If you're having trouble getting SPSS to install, access this information.
  • SPSS Statistics Community: Choose Help→IBM SPSS Predictive Analytics Community to visit a huge collection of IBM blogs and forums for every need. It will take a little time to get registered and settled in, but it's designed to be your free, go-to resource for the latest news and a chance to interact with other users. Be sure to sign up for the SPSS Stats group, in the IBM Data Science community. Hundreds of thousands of people are in this community, so it should be your first stop, before the support forums.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Jesus Salcedo is an independent statistical and data-mining consultant who has been using SPSS products for more than 25 years. He has written numerous SPSS courses and trained thousands of users. Keith McCormick has been all over the world training and consulting in all things SPSS, statistics, and data mining. He now authors courses on the LinkedIn Learning platform and coaches executives on how to effectively manage their analytics teams.

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