SSCI2020 Workshop 1: Introducing SPSS

This first workshop covers the following:

  1. Navigating SPSS user interface (data and variable views).
  2. How to enter data manually.
  3. How to save SPSS data files.

Make sure that you need to complete the Workshop 1 Participation Activity after this workshop. This activity will contribute to your workshop participation marks. The link to the Workshop 1 Participation Activity can be found on the course iLearn page (under the section of Week 2). You can see the questions of the the Workshop 1 Participation Activity on this page so that you can prepare for the answers. But you can provide your answers only via the link on the course iLearn page.

The first look of SPSS

If you follow all the steps in Preparation for the Workshops correctly, you will see your first SPSS window. Then, you are ready for the first SPSS workshop.

<Figure 1>

Figure 1: <Figure 1>

Workshop 1 Participation Activity

  1. Did you access SPSS successfully via AppStream? (Yes/No)


  1. Did you link your MQ student Google Drive account to AppStream successfully? (Yes/No)


How to enter data

Entering id variable (Nominal variable)

id variable is used to identify respondents. Since we have 30 respondents, let’s make id variable for all 30 respondents.

  1. Enter the value of id in the first row for the column of id. The value is 1 for this cell. In the next row, the value is 2, and so on…
<Figure 5>

Figure 5: <Figure 5>

  1. After finishing entering 30 for the 30th respondent, we need to define the characteristics of this variable. Click the Variable View again.

  2. In the Variable View, click the first row of the Decimals column (which is for id variable). The default value is 2, which indicate two decimal places. We change this into 0 (no decimal) because id is just a nominal variable.

<Figure 6>

Figure 6: <Figure 6>

  1. Add a short description of id variable in the Label column. I describe it as “Identification number”.
<Figure 7>

Figure 7: <Figure 7>

  1. SPSS allows three levels of measurement: 1) Nominal, 2) Ordinal, and 3) Scale (which is the same as continuous). Levels of measurement determine the types of statistical methods or graphs. So, assigning appropriate levels of measurement is important in your future analysis. Since id is a nominal variable, we will define id as Nominal. Just click the Measure column for id and change it from Unknown to Nominal.
<Figure 8>

Figure 8: <Figure 8>

  1. Go back to the Data View, and check how id variable has been changed (i.e. no decimal).

Entering gender variable (Nominal variable)

gender variable has two categories: Male and Female. For convenience, we assign numerical values to each category.

  • 1 = Male
  • 2 = Female
  1. In the Data Editor, enter numerical values that correspond to each gender category in the column of gender.
<Figure 9>

Figure 9: <Figure 9>

  1. Set the variable characteristics of gender in Variable View. It should defined as ‘no decimal’, a proper label, and a correct level of measurement.
<Figure 10>

Figure 10: <Figure 10>

  1. Then, we are going to assign two categories (Male and Female) to each numerical value. Click the blue shaded square for gender variable in the column of Values.
<Figure 11>

Figure 11: <Figure 11>

  1. You will see the dialogue box of Value Labels. In the box, 1) type 1 in Value, 2) type Male in Label, and 3) Click Add. This means that 1 means a male respondent.
<Figure 12>

Figure 12: <Figure 12>

  1. In the same manner, 1) type 2 in Value, 2) type Female in Label, and 3) Click Add. This means that 2 means a female respondent. Then, your dialogue box should look like <Figure 13>.
<Figure 13>

Figure 13: <Figure 13>

  1. Close the dialogue box by clicking OK.

  2. You will be back to the Data View. Do you see that your gender variable now have texts instead of numbers? If not, go to the View at the top menu and tick Value Labels (See <Figure 15>). Enabling the option of value Labels will set SPSS to display value labels instead of numerical values in the Data View.

<Figure 14>

Figure 14: <Figure 14>

<Figure 15>

Figure 15: <Figure 15>

Entering age variable (continuous variable)

  1. In the Data View, enter the value of age as in the <Table 1>.
<Figure 16>

Figure 16: <Figure 16>

  1. In the Variable View, set the Decimals to 0, type Age in the Label column and change the Measure into Scale (which is a continuous variable).
<Figure 17>

Figure 17: <Figure 17>

Entering political orientation variable (ordinal variable)

polorient is an ordinal variable with five categories: 1 = Far left, 2 = Left, 3 = Central, 4 = Right, 5 = Far right.

  1. In the Data View, enter numerical values corresponding to each category of polorient.
<Figure 18>

Figure 18: <Figure 18>

  1. In the Variable View, change the Decimals into 0, the Measure into Ordinal. And type “Political Orientation” in the Label.
<Figure 19>

Figure 19: <Figure 19>

  1. Next, we will assign the categories (value labels) to the numerical values. As we did for gender, click the blue shaded square in the column of Value for polorient variable. Then, type 1 in Value and Far left in Label. And click Add. In the same way, assign the other four categories to the remaining values. Then you will see the dialogue box as in <Figure 20>. And click OK.
<Figure 20>

Figure 20: <Figure 20>

Entering social class variable (ordinal variable)

class is is an ordinal variable with six categories: 1 = Lower class, 2 = Working class, 3 = Lower middle class, 4 = Middle class, 5 = Upper middle class, 6 = Upper class.

Enter the value of class variable. The process will be very similar as what you did for enterting polorient variable. After entering social class variable, the final data should look like <Figure 21>

<Figure 21>

Figure 21: <Figure 21>

Workshop 1 Participation Activity

  1. Did you construct the SPSS data for 30 respondents successfully? (Yes/No)


How to save your SPSS data file

Now, you are going to save the dataset you created so that you can use it in the next workshop.

  1. Go to File > Save. You will see a dialogue box where you can specify the folder in which your data file is saved. In this workshop, we will save the data file in the SSCI2020 folder of Google Drive that you made in Preparation for the Workshops.
<Figure 22>

Figure 22: <Figure 22>

  1. In the popped-up box of “Save Data As”, choose SSCI2020 (Google Drive >> My Drive >> SSCI2020) in Look in (this is the location where your file is saved). If you can’t find the SSCI2020 folder, it is likely that you didn’t follow the steps of How to Link Google Drive to AppStream. Type a file name in File name; I typed Workshop1-HYLee. Then, click Save.
<Figure 23>

Figure 23: <Figure 23>

  1. Click the icon of “Switch Windows” in the navigation toolbar. Then, click the Output window.
<Figure 24>

Figure 24: <Figure 24>

  1. You will see the Output1 window confirming that SPSS saved your file.
<Figure 25>

Figure 25: <Figure 25>

If you follow all the instruction so far, please complete the Workshop 1 Participation Activity. You can find the link to the Activity on the iLearn.

In the next workshop, you will use the data file you created and saved in this workshop. This is the end of the Workshop 1. Thank you!

Workshop 1 Participation Activity

  1. Did you save your data file in the SSCI2020 folder successfully? (Yes/No)


Last updated on 28 July, 2021 by Dr Hang Young Lee(hangyoung.lee@mq.edu.au)