The Compare Groups Graph in IBM SPSS Statistics

By Keith McCormick, Jesus Salcedo, Aaron Poh

The SPSS Statistics Compare Groups menu is found in the Graphs main menu. (If you don’t see the Compare Groups menu, you need to reinstall SPSS with the Python Integration package enabled.) What’s exciting about Compare Groups is that it’s a chance to create a graphic that represent several variables all at once, and it’s quite easy to read.

That’s good for you, and it’s good for all the folks you made the graphic for.

The menu is straightforward. Don’t hesitate to load it up with variables to plot. This is a great way to look at a few variables at a time. It even does a great job with a mix of categorical and scale variables, since it will automatically handle them differently. In this example, five scale variables are chosen. A variety of options allow you to control color, amount of transparency of the overlay graphic, and the size of the component graphics.

The Compare Groups graph.

The Compare Groups graph.

The results show a couple of findings at a quick glance. You’re looking at five scale variables as compared on cars from three different parts of the world. There appear to be no large engines represented by the European and Japanese cars. You can tell because there is no shading on the right of those two little figures.

Number of Cylinders shows that the smallest value is associated with Japanese cars, the middle values with European cars, and the middle and high values with American cars. Where it isn’t shaded, you can place the values in the context of the whole dataset.

There aren’t too many choices that would allow for this much information as quick as this in a small compact graphic. The Compare Groups graph is a great recent addition to the SPSS graphing toolkit.