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Help with Recoding Variables in SPSS

Sometimes you need to alter some of the values within your data set. Recoding variables in SPSS can be rather problematic if you don’t quite know what you’re doing. Make sure that you know precisely how to use SPSS when you’re playing around with variables. One mistake could lead to a whole host of problems down the line. Use our expert help to get to grips with the troublesome task of changing variables. Multicollinearity SPSS is a phenomenon with the help of which two or more predictor variables in a multiple regression model can be described as highly correlated.

Back to Basics Before You Begin

In advance of learning a new and complicated skill, it’s always worth making sure that you remember the basics upon which you’ll later rely. It’s no different when it comes to manipulating variables in SPSS. Familiarize yourself with the definitions below and things will proceed without much trouble at all.

Simply put, a variable is a quantitative data value that can change and can be measured. Typical examples include height and weight. Variables tend to be measured repeatedly for different participants.

Measurements of any given variable are made using a scale and the properties of this scale will end up telling us what we can do with our data as well as what we cannot do with it. SPSS distinguishes three types of scale: nominal, ordinal and then interval and ratio scales together as one.

Nominal variables are also referred to as being categorical as they are essentially labels. A coding scheme is typically used with such variables and any number used to this end do not have any inherent value of their own other than to mark a difference between two groups. An example of a nominal variable is sex, i.e. male or female.

Ordinal variables essentially imply order or rank, such as in the case of test scores.

Interval and ratio variables are both referred to as scale variables in SPSS. There each uses a scale containing a zero value, but the former uses a relative zero whereas the latter uses an absolute zero to mean that there is none of the quantity being measured.

Useful Facts about Variables in SPSS

File reshaping is possible by altering variables in SPSS. When it comes down to it, there are three main ways to change the nature of your variables for further statistical analysis. Each method alters the data in very specific ways and you’ll need to choose which option to pursue based on the requirements of your research.

For the first method of using spss hypothesis testing recode into different variables range is important. When you recode a variable into another, you can define upper and lower boundaries and even choose to only recode those values above, below or within a certain range. This approach does constitute a permanent change as you’ll have access to both the old and new datasets.

Recoding into the same variables works in the same way as recoding into different variables except there’s one important distinguishing characteristic. Whereas when you’re using SPSS recode into different variables range can be manipulated with little concern for the loss of data, recoding into the same variables will actually delete your original data. In most cases, it’s unadvisable to recode into the same variables when you’re creating derived data.

The third variation on the recoding principle involves a piece of syntax known as “DO IF-ELSE IF”. This approach lets you have a lot more control over the variables you’re using. You can use this method to discretize your chosen numeric variables into more than three categories and you can conduct recoding based on more than just a single variable. Generally, though, you’ll find that recoding into different variables is the only kind of recoding you’ll need.

How to Recode Variables in SPSS

You can combine variables in SPSS by following a rather simple process. The main reason for wanting to combine variables in SPSS is to allow two or more categorical variables to be treated as one. Alternatively, you may be trying to create a total awareness variable.

The best way to learn how to recode variables in SPSS in order to combine them is to follow a step-by-step guide and refer to expert advice along the way. That’s the approach we’re going to take here, so take a look at the steps below and get in touch with one of our professional statisticians if you’re still confused.

  • Start by clicking on the Transform menu in the horizontal toolbar at the top of the screen. Choose Recode to access a drop-down menu. In this case, pick Into Different Variables.
  • Choose the variable you want to recode and bring it over to the Recode window. Give it a new name using the Name box and put a memorable description in the Label box. Finalize your new variable by clicking the Change button.
  • Next, click the Old and New Values button to bring up a dialog box. Here you can select an option to describe the values you’re going to recode. Typically, you’ll want to input a Range in order to collapse these values into a single variable. Click Add to finalize this change.
  • Once you’ve finished recording all the values you want, click Continue to return to the original dialog box. Then, click OK to complete the recording process.

recoding variables in spss guide

Creating Variables

It’s useful to know how to create new variable in SPSS and you’ll find this a most commonly used function when formulating new variables based on combinations of existing ones. The default kind of case selection includes all cases, but you can change things so that cases are only included if they satisfy specific conditions. Follow the short guide below and find out how to create a new variable in SPSS.

  • Click on the Transform option just like when you recorded your variables. This time, select Compute to bring up the Compute Variable dialog box.
  • Here you can type in your target variable and then add a type and labels as you require.
  • For a situation in which you have answers to a questionnaire and wish to compute new variables based on specific questions and their answers, you can type an appropriate formula into the numeric expression box. This is generally used to find the mean average of several values.

Recoding variables in SPSS are pretty straightforward once you understand the underlying principles. If you’re struggling with learning the statistical basis behind any of the operations used in SPSS, let us know and we’ll put you in touch with an expert statistician who’ll soon put you right.

Once you’ve learned the various ways of recoding variables in SPSS, new avenues of research will open right up. Talk to an expert and finally master SPSS.

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