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Brief SPSS Dictionary – A to Z

A

ADD FILES (Command)

ADD FILES is an SPSS command that's mainly used for merging data sources holding similar variables but different cases. This tutorial demonstrates how to use it and points out some pitfalls associated with ADD FILES.
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AGGREGATE (Command)

Aggregate is an SPSS command for creating variables holding statistics over cases. This tutorials briefly demonstrates the most common scenarios and points out some best practices.
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ALTER TYPE (Command)

ALTER TYPE converts string variables to numeric ones.

However, it does other useful stuff too and there's some nasty pitfalls you should know. This tutorial quickly walks you through.


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AUTORECODE (Command)

SPSS AUTORECODE converts a categorical string variable into a numeric variable with value labels.

This tutorial quickly walks you through with some examples.


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C

CD (Command)

It's always a good idea to open and save data files with syntax. Like so, it can be readily seen which syntax was run on which data. One could use the syntax generated by "Paste" for this but there's a much shorter and better option.
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COMPUTE (Command)

SPSS COMPUTE command sets the values for numeric variables and string variables. Simple as that may seem, there's a couple of things you need to be aware of. This tutorial quickly walks you through just those.
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CORRELATIONS (Command)

SPSS CORRELATIONS creates tables with Pearson correlations, sample sizes and significance levels.

Its syntax can be as simple as correlations q1 to q5. which creates a correlation matrix for variables q1 through q5. This simple tutorial quickly walks you through some other options as well.


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CROSSTABS (Command)

SPSS CROSSTABS is used for

  • chi-square tests;
  • contingency tables;
  • different correlations (Pearson, Spearman, Kendall, Cramér's);
  • clustered bar charts.

This quick tutorial walks you through some examples.


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Custom Dialog (SPSS Tool)

Custom Dialogs are tools that you can easily add to SPSS and use from its menu.

By doing so, users can build their own dialogs in SPSS.


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D

DESCRIPTIVES (Command)

SPSS DESCRIPTIVES generates a single table with descriptive statistics for one or more variables. It can also add z-scores to your data.


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DICTIONARY

It's not informative that "a respondent has 0 on v1" unless you know what v1 and 0 refer to. Such information - what the data actually represent - is collectively know as the dictionary.
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DO IF (Command)

SPSS commands between DO IF ... and END IF are applied only to cases (rows of data) that satisfy one or more conditions. In many cases, however, IF is a faster way to accomplish the same results.
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DO REPEAT (Command)

DO REPEAT is the easiest way for looping in SPSS. Its main use is to basically apply a command to several variables at once.
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E

EXECUTE (Command)

Some SPSS commands such as COMPUTE, RECODE and SELECT-IF are only executed when needed.

EXECUTE simply makes SPSS complete such commands straight away.


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Extension Bundle (SPSS Tool)

SPSS Extension Bundles are extra program features that you can add to SPSS. Like so, you can add data editing routines, statistical procedures or other features that the program does not include by default.
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F

FILTER (Command)

SPSS FILTER excludes a selection of cases from all subsequent analyses until you switch it off again.

Using a filter comes down to creating a (new) filter variable and activating it. This tutorial shows the easy way to do so and points out some nice alternatives as well.


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FORMATS (Command)

SPSS FORMATS command is mainly used for setting decimal places for numeric variables. FORMATS also displays SPSS date and time values properly. This tutorial will briefly demonstrate both uses.
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FREQUENCIES (Command)

SPSS FREQUENCIES command can be used for much more than frequency tables; it's also the easiest way to obtain basic charts such as histograms and bar charts. On top of that, it provides us with percentiles and some other statistics. Plenty of reasons for taking a closer look at this ubiquitous SPSS command.
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I

IF (Command)

In SPSS, IF computes a new or existing variable but for a selection of cases only.

For example: IF(GENDER = 0) SCORE = MEAN(Q1 TO Q5). computes “score” as the mean over variables Q1 to Q5 but only for cases whose gender is 0 (female).


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INSERT (Command)

A great way for keeping your syntax organized is to break it up into separate files. The INSERT command allows you to (re)run all of them in one go if desired.
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L

LAG (Function)

In SPSS, LAG is a function that returns the value of a previous case. It's mostly used on data with multiple rows of data per respondent. Here it comes in handy for calculating cumulative sums or counts.
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LOOP (Command)

A loop is a command for executing other commands in a repetitive fashion.


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M

MATCH FILES (Command)

Match files is an SPSS command that's mostly used for merging data holding the same cases but different variables.

This tutorial walks you through some typical examples.


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MEANS (Command)

SPSS MEANS produces tables containing means and/or other statistics for different groups of cases. These groups are defined by one or more categorical variables. If assumptions are met, MEANS can be followed up by an ANOVA.


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O

OMS (Command)

SPSS OMS (Output Management System) converts SPSS output tables into datasets. On some projects, this saves truly vast amounts of time and effort.
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OUTPUT MODIFY (Command)

OUTPUT MODIFY adjusts one or many SPSS output tables or charts one go.

This quick introduction demonstrates some amazing examples such as boldfacing large correlations or setting decimal places.


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R

RANGE (Function)

The SPSS RANGE function is used to evaluate whether or not values are within a given range. Test values equal to the lower or upper boundary are also within the given range.
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RANK (Command)

SPSS RANK can be used to create a variable holding the rank numbers of the values of some other variable. RANK is also used for discretizing continuous variables into ntile groups. This tutorial walks you through the main options along with some real world examples.
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RECODE (Command)

The SPSS RECODE command usually replaces values with different values. It comes in handy for merging categories, dichotomizing continuous variables and some other tasks. This tutorial walks you through its main options, best practices and pitfalls.


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S

SELECT IF (Command)

In SPSS, SELECT IF removes a selection of cases from your data.

This tutorial walks you through the basics and some FAQ's such as

  • how to remove cases based on 2 variables instead of one?
  • how to remove cases based on (number of) missing values?
  • how to visually inspect only those cases that will be removed?

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SET (Command)

SPSS SET adjusts most settings in SPSS.

Doing so allows you to

  • create much better output with hardly any additional effort;
  • speed up a huge variety of tasks;
  • accomplish tasks that are otherwise impossible.

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SPLIT FILE (Command)

SPLIT FILE is a command for having separate output for subsets of cases. It does not literally split your file into smaller files. This tutorial demonstrates how to use it.
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T

Tablelooks (SPSS Files)

SPSS TableLooks are tiny text files that apply styling -fonts, colors, borders and more- to SPSS output tables. This tutorial quickly gets you started.
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TEMPORARY (Command)

In SPSS, TEMPORARY indicates that the commands that follow are temporary. Temporary commands will be undone (reversed) when a command is run that reads the data.
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V

VARSTOCASES (Command)

SPSS VARSTOCASES is short for “variables to cases”. It restructures data by stacking variables on top of each other. This tutorial also shows a major pitfall in SPSS VARSTOCASES.
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VECTOR (Command)

In SPSS, a VECTOR is a list of variables that can be referenced by their indices in this list.

VECTOR is often combined with LOOP.


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W

WEIGHT (Command)

By default, every case in your data counts as a single case. However, you can have each case count as more or less than one case as well. This is called weighting. This tutorial shows you how to do this in SPSS.
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