By Keith McCormick, Jesus Salcedo, Aaron Poh

Some immediate help comes directly from the IBM SPSS Statistics 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.

  • Tutorial: Choose Help→Tutorial to open a dialog box with the outline of a tutorial that guides you through many parts of SPSS. You can start at the beginning and view each lesson in turn, or you can select your subject and view just that.

  • Case Studies: Choose Help→Case Studies to open a dialog box containing examples in a format similar to that of the Tutorial. You can select titles from the outline and view descriptions and examples of specific instances of using SPSS. You can also find descriptions of the different types of calculations. If some particular analysis type is eluding your comprehension, this is a good place to look.

  • Statistics Coach: Choose Help→Statistics Coach if you have a good idea of what you want to do but you need some specific information on how to go about doing it.

  • 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 earlier, provide a brief overview of each topic, but this document is much more detailed.

  • Algorithms: Choose HelpAlgorithms to get detailed information on how processes work internally. This is where you can dive far down into the internals. If you want to take a look at the math and how it’s applied, this is where you should start.