# SPSS tutorials

BASICS DATA ANALYSIS T-TEST ANOVA CHI-SQUARE TEST

# Simple Overview Statistical Comparison Tests

The vast majority of statistical tests really just

• compare several populations on one variable or
• compare several variables in one population.

Now, if we add to this comparison

then choosing the appropriate statistical test suddenly becomes remarkably easy.The main limitation here is that correlations and association measures don't fit into this scheme. We'll soon come up with a similar overview for those.
The overviews below also nicely visualize how basic tests relate to each other. Click the links in the tables for a simple visualization and some key points for each test.

## A. Comparing Groups of Cases

Outcome Variable 1 group of cases 2 groups of cases 3(+) groups of cases
Dichotomous Z-Test for One Proportion or
Binomial Test
Z-Test for 2 Independent Proportions or
Chi-Square Independence Test
Chi-Square Independence Test
Nominal Chi-Square Goodness-of-Fit Test Chi-Square Independence Test Chi-Square Independence Test
Ordinal Sign Test for One Median Mann-Whitney Test or
Median Test for 2(+) Independent Medians
Kruskal-Wallis test
Metric (“scale”) One Sample T-Test Independent Samples T-Test One-Way ANOVA

## B. Comparing Variables

Outcome Variable(s) 1 variable 2 variables 3(+) variables
Dichotomous Z-Test for One Proportion or
Binomial Test
McNemar Test Cochran Q test
Nominal Chi-Square Goodness-of-Fit Test (None) (None)
Ordinal Sign Test for One Median Wilcoxon Signed-Ranks Test or
Sign Test for 2 Related Medians
Friedman Test
Metric (“scale”) One Sample T-Test Paired Samples T-Test Repeated Measures ANOVA

## Null Hypothesis

The population proportion for some value is equal to some hypothesized proportion, p0.

## Assumptions

• Independent and identically distributed variables.
• p0*n and (1 - p0)*n must both be > 5, where p0 denotes the hypothesized population proportion and n the sample size.6 See notes.

## Where in SPSS?

Not available. However, see below.

## Notes

• The z-test yields an approximate (“asymptotic”) p-value that's more accurate insofar as the sample size is larger and p0 is closer to 0.5. Different authors suggest different rules for when the approximation is accurate enough.4
• The binomial test has the same null hypothesis but can't come up with a confidence interval for a proportion or a 2-tailed p-value unless p0 = 0.5. On the other hand, the binomial test always yields an exact p-value and does not require any minimum sample size.

Z-Test and Confidence Interval Proportion Tool

## Null Hypothesis

The population proportion for some value is equal to some hypothesized proportion, p0.

## Assumptions

• Independent and identically distributed variables.

## Where in SPSS?

On recent SPSS versions, we prefer using Analyze Nonparametric Tests Legacy Dialogs Binomial.

## Notes

The binomial test has the same null hypothesis but can't come up with a confidence interval for a proportion or a 2-tailed p-value unless p0 = 0.5. On the other hand, the binomial test always yields an exact p-value and does not require any minimum sample size.

## Null Hypothesis

The population distribution of a categorical variable is identical to some hypothesized distribution.

## Assumptions

• Independent and identically distributed variables.
• Less than 20% of the expected frequencies are < 5.4
• None of the expected frequencies is < 1.

## Where in SPSS?

On recent SPSS versions, we prefer using Analyze Nonparametric Tests Legacy Dialogs Chi-Square.

## Notes

SPSS One Sample Chi-Square Test

## Null Hypothesis

The population median of some variable is equal to a hypothesized value, η0.

## Assumptions

• Independent and identically distributed variables.

## Where in SPSS?

Not available. However, you can RECODE the test variable into signs (plus and minus) that indicate if each data value is larger or smaller than η0 and use a binomial test with p0 = 0.5.
Alternatively, add η0 as a new variable (or actually a constant) to your data and use a sign test for 2 related medians.

SPSS Sign Test for One Median - Simple Example

## Null Hypothesis

The population mean of some variable is equal to a hypothesized value, μ0.

## Assumptions

• Independent and identically distributed variables.
• The test variable is normally distributed in the population. For reasonable sample sizes (say, n > 25), this assumption is not needed.3

## Where in SPSS?

The easiest option is Analyze Compare Means One-Sample T Test.

SPSS One Sample T-Test

## Null Hypothesis

The difference between two independent proportions, p1 and p2 is equal to some hypothesized value, δ0. “Independent proportions” refers to proportions of one variable in two (disjoint) populations. Since δ0 is often zero, we'll simplify this to both proportions being equal.

## Assumptions

• Independent and identically distributed variables.
• p1*n1, (1-p1)*n1, p2*n2 and (1-p2)*n2 are all > 5, where p and n denote the two test proportions and their related sample sizes.6

## Where in SPSS?

Not available. However, see below.

Z-Test and Confidence Intervals Independent Proportions Tool

## Null Hypothesis

Two categorical variables are statistically independent in some population. Or, equivalently, the population distributions of some categorical variable are identical for a number of subpopulations defined by a second categorical variable.

## Assumptions

• Independent and identically distributed variables.
• All expected cell frequencies ≥ 5.1

## Where in SPSS?

Analyze Descriptive Statistics Crosstabs Statistics Chi-Square
Alternatively, for 2 variables named var1 and var2, just type crosstabs var1 by var2/statistics chisq. into your syntax editor window and run it.

## Notes

• For two dichotomous variables, use a z-test for 2 independent proportions instead. It yields an identical significance level but adds to that a confidence interval for the difference between the proportions.
• This test can be extended to 3 or more variables. In this case we speak of loglinear analysis. The chi-square independence test is technically a special (simplest possible) case of a loglinear model.

## Null Hypothesis

The mean ranks on some variable are equal for two populations. Some textbooks propose that “the population distribution of some variable is identical in 2 populations except for the central tendency”3. We don't like this formulation because “central tendency” is vague (it certainly isn't a mean or a median) and therefore unmeasurable.

## Assumptions

Independent and identically distributed variables.

## Where in SPSS?

On recent SPSS versions, we prefer using Analyze Nonparametric Tests Legacy Dialogs 2 Independent Samples Mann-Whitney U

## Notes

• This test is also known as the Wilcoxon (rank-sum) test, which is not to be confused with the Wilcoxon signed-ranks test.
• The Mann-Whitney test is typically used instead of the independent samples t-test when the latter’s assumptions aren't met.
• On skewed variables, the MW test may sometimes be more powerful than the independent samples t-test.

## Null Hypothesis

Two or more (disjoint) populations all have identical medians on some variable.

## Assumptions

Independent and identically distributed variables (sometimes referred to as “independent observations”).

## Where in SPSS?

On recent SPSS versions, we prefer using Analyze Nonparametric Tests Legacy Dialogs K Independent Samples Median

## Notes

• The median test is not a very powerful test. This is because it only evaluates if data values are either larger or smaller than the median. It thus ignores the magnitudes of such differences.
• An alternative that does take these into account is the Mann-Whitney test for two independent samples.
• For K (meaning 3 or more) independent samples, consider the Kruskal-Wallis test instead of the median test.

SPSS Median Test for 2 Independent Medians

## Null Hypothesis

Some variable has identical means in two (disjoint) populations.

## Assumptions

• Independent observations or, more precisely, Independent and identically distributed variables.
• Normality: the test variable must be normally distributed in both populations. This assumption is mostly important for smaller sample sizes, say n < 25 for either sample.6
• Homogeneity: the variance of the test variable must be equal in both populations being compared. Violation of this assumption is more serious insofar as the 2 sample sizes are different.

## Where in SPSS?

The easiest option is Analyze Compare Means Independent Samples T Test

## Notes

• If the normality assumption is seriously violated and sample sizes are small, consider using the Mann-Whitney test intstead of the t-test.6
• By default, SPSS includes Levene's test in the output which tests the assumption of equal variances (not the main null hypothesis of equal population means). Generally, p < 0.05 for the Levene test is seen as evidence that the assumptions of equal variances does not hold.
• The assumption of equal variances not holding (but the normality assumption being met) is known as the Behrens-Fisher problem. One way of dealing with it is an adjustment of df (degrees of freedom) known as the Welch-Satterthwaithe solution.3 The result is found in SPSS’ output under “equal variances not assumed” (shown below).

P < 0.05 for Levene’s test so the assumption of equal variances is not met.
We therefore report the second row of the t-test results denoted by “equal variances not assumed”.
Note how df has been adjusted according to the Welch correction.
We'll report something like “a t-test did not show the means to be statistically significantly different, t(29) = 1.55, p = 0.133”.

SPSS Independent Samples T Test

## Null Hypothesis

The population proportion for some value is equal to some hypothesized proportion, p0.

## Assumptions

• Independent and identically distributed variables.
• p0*n and (1 - p0)*n must both be > 5, where p0 denotes the hypothesized population proportion and n the sample size.6 See notes.

## Where in SPSS?

Not available. However, see below.

## Notes

• The z-test yields an approximate (“asymptotic”) p-value that's more accurate insofar as the sample size is larger and p0 is closer to 0.5. Different authors suggest different rules for when the approximation is accurate enough.4
• The binomial test has the same null hypothesis but can't come up with a confidence interval for a proportion or a 2-tailed p-value unless p0 = 0.5. On the other hand, the binomial test always yields an exact p-value and does not require any minimum sample size.

Z-Test and Confidence Interval Proportion Tool

## Null Hypothesis

The mean ranks of some variable are all equal over 3 or more (disjoint) subpopulations.1
Other authors propose that the population distributions of some variable are identical over 3 or more (disjoint) subpopulations1 or even that the medians are identical over subpopulations.3 We feel the first formulation is preferable but opinions differ.

## Assumptions

Independent and identically distributed variables (or, less precisely, independent observations).

Our preferred dialog is under Analyze Nonparametric Tests Legacy Dialogs K Independent Samples Kruskall-Wallis H

## Notes

• The KW test is mostly used instead of a one-way ANOVA when the latter’s assumptions (especially normality) aren't met by the data.
• The test statistic, Kruskal-Wallis H, is incorrectly denoted as Chi-Square in SPSS.
• The sampling distribution of Kruskal-Wallis H is complex but can be approximated by a chi-square distribution if samples sizes are sufficient. A rule of thumb is all ni ≥ 4, which will probably always be the case.6

SPSS Kruskal-Wallis Test - Simple Tutorial with Example

## Null Hypothesis

The population means for some variable are all equal over 3 or more (disjoint) subpopulations.

## Assumptions

• Independent observations (precisely: independent and identically distributed variables).
• Homogeneity: the population variances are all equal over subpopulations. Violation of this assumption is less serious insofar as all sample sizes are equal.6
• Normality: the test variable must be normally distributed in each subpopulation. This assumption becomes less important insofar the sample sizes are larger.

## Where in SPSS?

SPSS offers many way for running a one-way ANOVA. For a very basic test, try Analyze Compare Means One-Way ANOVA
If you'd like some more detailed output, including partial eta squared (a measure for effect size), go for Analyze General Linear Model Univariate

## Notes

• One-way ANOVA only tests whether all population means are equal. If this doesn't hold, you may use a post-hoc test such as Tukey’s HSD to find out exactly which means are different.
• In practice, two or even more factors are often included in the model simultaneously. This extends one-way ANOVA to two way ANOVA or even multiway ANOVA.

## Null Hypothesis

The population proportions with which some value occurs in two variables are equal.

## Assumptions

Independent and identically distributed variables or, less precisely, independent observations.

## Where in SPSS?

We prefer using the dialog under Analyze Nonparametric Tests Legacy Dialogs 2 Related Samples McNemar

SPSS McNemar Test

## Null Hypothesis

Two variables are identically distributed in some population.3 Or, alternatively, the population median of difference scores is zero.1

## Assumptions

Independent and identically distributed variables.

## Where in SPSS?

We prefer using the dialog under Analyze Nonparametric Tests Legacy Dialogs 2 Related Samples Wilcoxon

## Notes

• Don't confuse the Wilcoxon Signed-Ranks test with Wilcoxon’s Rank-Sum test, which is an alias for the Mann-Whitney test. For this reason, the term “Wilcoxon test” is better avoided.
• The test statistic, Wilcoxon W+, has a complex sampling distribution. For sample sizes > 15, it may be approximated by a normal distribution.6 The significance level resulting from this approximation is denoted as “Asymp. Sig. (2-tailed)” in SPSS.

SPSS Wilcoxon Signed-Ranks Test - Simple Example

## Null Hypothesis

The population medians for two variables are equal.

## Assumptions

Independent and identically distributed variables.

## Where in SPSS?

The simplest option is Analyze Nonparametric Tests Legacy Dialogs 2 Related Samples Sign

## Notes

Like all tests on medians, this test is not very powerful. It only takes into account if difference scores are larger or smaller than zero but it ignores how much larger or smaller. Therefore, the Wilcoxon signed-ranks test is usually a better alternative for the sign test.

SPSS Sign Test for Two Medians - Simple Example

## Null Hypothesis

Two variables have equal population means.

## Assumptions

• Independent observations (or precisely: independent and identically distributed variables).
• Difference scores between the two variables must be normally distributed in the population. This assumption is less important insofar as the sample size is larger and may perhaps be ignored altogether if n > 25 or 30.

## Where in SPSS?

The standard approach is Analyze Compare Means Paired-Samples T Test

For sample sizes < 25 or so, perhaps COMPUTE difference scores manually and first run a histogram on them to check if the normality assumption has been satisfied. If you'd like to test many variables, speed things up with DO REPEAT. You can now test if each variable holding difference scores has a population mean of zero with Analyze Compare Means One-Sample T Test

## Notes

• The paired-samples t-test is equivalent to a one-sample t-test on difference scores.
• If the normality assumption is severely violated in small sample sizes (say, n < 25), consider using the Wilcoxon signed-ranks test instead of the t-test.

SPSS Paired Samples T Test

## Null Hypothesis

The population proportions with which some value occurs in 3 or more variables are all equal.7

## Assumptions

Independent and identically distributed variables.

## Where in SPSS?

Our preferred approach is Analyze Nonparametric Tests Legacy Dialogs K Related Samples Cochran’s Q

SPSS Cochran Q Test

## Null Hypothesis

Three or more variables have identical population distributions. However, the Friedman test mainly detects if the scores of all test variables are equally large. It won't detect other differences such as unequal standard deviations or skewnesses over variables.

## Assumptions

Independent and identically distributed variables.

## Where in SPSS?

Our preferred approach is Analyze Nonparametric Tests Legacy Dialogs K Related Samples Friedman

## Notes

• The Friedman test comes close to a repeated measures ANOVA on within-subjects rank numbers. It's mainly used instead of repeated measure ANOVA because it requires fewer assumptions on your data.
• The test statistic, Friedman’s Q, is incorrectly denoted as “Chi-Square” in SPSS’ output;
• The sampling distribution of Q is complex. It may be approximated by a chi-square distribution if the sample size is reasonable.
• By default, SPSS only reports this approximate significance level (“Asymp. Sig.”). For a small sample size, it may be wildly off. In this case, the exact p-value is needed but this requires the SPSS exact tests option. Alternatively, compute Friedman’s Q in SPSS and look up its exact p-value in a table.

SPSS Friedman Test - Simple Example

## Null Hypothesis

The population means of 3 or more variables are all equal.

## Assumptions

• Independent and identically distributed variables (“independent observations”).
• Normality: the test variables follow a multivariate normal distribution in the population.
• Sphericity: the variances of all difference scores among the test variables must be equal in the population.2

## Where in SPSS?

Analyze General Linear Model Repeated Measures
Repeated measures ANOVA is only available if you have SPSS’ advanced statistics module installed.

## Notes

• If the normality assumption is severely violated in a small sample, consider using a Friedman test instead.
• By default, SPSS includes Mauchly’s test in the output which tests the sphericity assumption.
• If Mauchly’s test indicates a severe violation of sphericity, we'll report corrected ANOVA results denoted by Greenhouse-Geisser or Huynh-Feldt.

## References

1. Agresti, A. & Franklin, C. (2014). Statistics. The Art & Science of Learning from Data. Essex: Pearson Education Limited.
2. Field. Discovering Statistics with IBM SPSS Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
3. Howell, D.C. Statistical Methods for Psychology (5th ed.). Pacific Grove CA: Duxbury.
4. Siegel, S. & Castellan, N.J. (1989). Nonparametric Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences (2nd ed.). Singapore: McGraw-Hill.
5. Van den Brink, W.P. & Koele, P. (1998). Statistiek, deel 2 [Statistics, part 2]. Amsterdam: Boom.
6. Van den Brink, W.P. & Koele, P. (2002). Statistiek, deel 3 [Statistics, part 3]. Amsterdam: Boom.
7. Wijnen, K., Janssens, W., De Pelsmacker, P. & Van Kenhove, P. (2002). Marktonderzoek met SPSS: statistische verwerking en interpretatie [Market Research with SPSS: statistical processing and interpretation]. Leuven: Garant Uitgevers.

# Let me know what you think!

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# This tutorial has 10 comments

• ### By Micha on April 5th, 2017

Hi Ruben, yes, these are the thoughts I want to evoke in You (and our audience). Besides: for kappa we have a CI.
m

• ### By Ruben Geert van den Berg on April 5th, 2017

Hi Micha, thanks for your feedback!

The null hypothesis that belongs to the "None" cells is: are the population frequency distributions over 2 or 3(+) nominal variables identical? Cohen's/Fleiss Kappa -although sometimes useful- answer a different question.

Perhaps we asked respondents about their political preferences (party A, B or C) in 2015 and 2016. We'd like to know: was the population frequency distribution identical over these 2 years? Note that the 2 variables don't need to be associated at all in order for this to hold.

We could extend the question by adding 2017: did the population frequency distribution stay identical over our 3 years?

To the best of my knowledge, there is not statistical test for answering precisely these questions. But please correct me if I'm missing something...

• ### By Micha on April 5th, 2017

like the tables / the relation of procedures approach!
what about the "non"s? Kappa will compare equivalence of nominal variables (Fleiss kappa for 3+). But H0/H1 switched. What about developing a beta-aproach to kappa? micha

• ### By Ruben Geert van den Berg on March 31st, 2017

Hi Jon, thanks for your feedback!

Most of this tutorial was about trying to point out how tests relate to each other. Like: 2 variables => paired samples t-test, 3(+) variables => RM ANOVA, assumptions not met, move to Friedman test and so on. With an attempt to very simply visualize the main idea behind each test. I'm kinda surprised that the enthousiasm among my adience seems rather modest -perhaps it'll need some more time to sink in or perhaps they don't find it as useful as I expected.

I'll try and look up and test the extension. I hope it runs on string variables too. More generally, I think that whenever a variable is not required to be metric, a string variable should be allowed in a statistical test -which sometimes seems the case and sometimes not in a rather haphazard manner.

I also think that both z-tests -including confidence intervals- should be present in SPSS by default. Since they're so widely used, it kinda puzzles me that they aren't.

Have a great weekend!

• ### By Jon Peck on March 31st, 2017

That's a lot of tests! I would like to point out that the PROPOR (Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Proportion Confidence Intervals) extension command provides binomial and Poisson confidence intervals for proportions and differences of proportions. The command is unusual in that it can take either numerator and denominator counts directly in the syntax or a dataset of these values.