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Statistics Resources

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Entering Data

Entering Data into SPSS

Entering Data into SPSS

In order to enter data into SPSS, you first need to understand the two different views in SPSS: Data View and Variable View.

Data View
This is where you enter the data for your participants. Some important things to know about this view:

  • Rows = participants
    • You read across each row to see the data for one participant
  • Columns = variables
    • You read down each column to see the data for one variable

Variable View
This is where you define your variables. Here’s an explanation of the columns to help you do that:

  • Name – a short identifier for your variable
    • Must be free of spaces and most special characters
  • Type – identify if you’re entering numbers or letters for the variable
    • Numeric = numbers
    • String = letters/words
  • Width – the maximum number of characters that can be entered in each cell
  • Decimals – the number of decimal places you want for numeric data
  • Label – a more meaningful identifier for your variables that can include spaces
  • Values – used for categorical variables where numbers are used to enter the data rather than words
    • Example: 1 = Strongly Disagree
  • Missing – used for missing value coding
  • Column – specifies how wide you want the column to be
  • Align – adjusts the alignment of the information in the cell (left, right, center)
  • Measure – used to designate the level of measurement of the variable
    • Nominal
    • Ordinal
    • Scale – used to identify either interval or ratio variables
  • Role – can be used to identify independent/dependent variables but isn’t required

Steps to enter data

Note: You can start data entry from either view. Variable View is recommended in these instructions.

Step 1: In Variable View, enter your variable's short name/abbreviation in the first available cell under “Name”.

Step 2: Use the information above to help you define your variable by editing the appropriate columns in the row.

Step 3: Switch to Data View.

Step 4: Click into the first cell under the variable name for which you wish to enter data.

Step 5: Enter the first value and press the “Enter” key to move to the next cell.

Step 6: Repeat until all data has been entered.

Saving your dataset

Step 1: Click on File and select Save as...

Step 2: Use the “Look in” drop-down to choose where to save the file.

Step 3: Use the “File Name” to designate an appropriate name for your file.

Step 4: Click Save

Note: This will only save the dataset. This will not save any output that you have created from that dataset.

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