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# SPSS Data Sets Psychology Help

Although many fields of study have come to employ SPSS data sets psychology is perhaps the biggest user of this particular computer program. Whatever stage of your psychological study or practice at which you find yourself, some knowledge of how to operate SPSS is going to be necessary. Ask expert statisticians for their assistance and you’ll be able to manipulate and analyze data sets with ease. Regression equation SPSS will not be a secret for you anymore.

## Defining a Data Set

Before we go any further, it’s important that the definition of a data set is well understood. Only then we can really begin to consider all the ways of handling data in SPSS.

The simplest way to describe a data set is a collection of data organized into a table in which each column corresponds to a variable and each row has to do with a member of the data set itself. In other words, values are set for variables like height and weight.

The data values within any given set may be integers which represent a direct measurement like height, or they could be nominal in the case of qualitative data that has been given a code of recognition to separate male from female, for example.

Obviously, in psychology, your data sets will come from observations you’ve made that involve sampling a statistical population. SPSS remains useful from the point of view of scientists in a number of disciplines because it retains the classical way of representing data sets.

## What Is SPSS in Psychology?

Before we discuss why it’s used primarily in psychological investigations, it’s worth considering what the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) is all about in general.

Ultimately, SPSS functions to allow the researcher to conduct their own statistical analyses without having to resort to submitting their data to external statistical experts. It permits you to run your own data mining, data documentation, and manipulation, which enables you to retain full control over any data you generate.

As for what is SPSS in Psychology, it is sufficient to be aware of its main capabilities. Aside from allowing calculations in descriptive and bivariate statistics, it helps you to create predictions relating to numerical outcomes and those to do with identifying groups. As psychology is a science based on observational research, the statistical analysis of data obtained is vital to the profession of the field.

## Inputting and Using Data

In psychology, SPSS is primarily used to record participants and associated variables. Whereas participants occupy rows in a table, you’ll find the variables in columns. As one of the most useful programs to use when conducting research in psychology SPSS has been widely adopted in pretty much every lab. Once you’ve input your data, you can quickly begin data analysis.

The handling of psychology raw data is rather straightforward in SPSS but it takes a little time to get to grips with all of its capabilities. Ask an expert to help you with sorting and splitting files, selecting and ranking cases, recoding and counting values and much more besides.

When you’ve set up a selection of different SPSS data sets health care research really becomes possible. If you’re particularly interested in a subset of data, it’s not difficult to select cases according to your criteria and you can also recode those variables which you’d like to investigate further. In psychology, raw data can be used in so many ways, and SPSS only helps you to get to the bottom of the meaning of all the data you’ve collected.

Image credit: psychology.illinoisstate.edu

## Some Useful Data Handling Functions

When you’ve organized all your SPSS data sets health care research can begin in earnest. There are several data handling functions that aren’t often covered in simple SPSS manuals and these are operations that are frequently explained by our expert statisticians. Consider some of the most frequently used data handling capabilities of SPSS below.

• If you’ve entered your data in a disorderly fashion and you’re concerned about presenting your data in an easy-to-understand format, you’ll want to sort your cases. The Sort Cases dialog box can be accessed from the Data menu. You can then sort by one variable and then another to provide some sense of order to your data table.
• If you want to separate participants’ data according to a nominal variable like sex or religion, you can split your file according to your chosen groups. You can make SPSS do this automatically if you wish. This option is accessed from the Split File item in the Data menu and it can be reversed in the same dialog box.
• You don’t have to split a file if you just want to select certain cases. Instead, you can temporarily ignore other data than those variables you’d like to focus on. This is done by clicking on the Select Cases item in the Data menu.
• You may want to merge variables rather than separating different participants out. It’s possible to collapse two categories into a single new one recording variables in SPSS . There’s an option to overwrite existing data in the form of the Recode Into Same Variables tool and an option to keep the original data and make a new, separate variable using the Recode Into Different Variables tool. Both are accessed from the Recode item in the Transform menu.
• There are several other useful data handling functions, including the following:
• Computing new variables
• Counting values
• Ranking cases
• Automatic recoding
• Variable categorization
• Creating time series
• Replacing missing values

When it comes to SPSS data sets psychology stands to benefit greatly. There’s so much you can do with any data you add to this program and it’ll take you quite some time to learn of all of its capabilities on your own. Consider speaking with an expert SPSS user and start making the most of all the data you’ve collected.