SPSS, which stands for statistical package for the social sciences, is an application that can aid in quantitative data handling. Before SPSS, researchers had to run statistical tests on data sets by hand. However, SPSS automates this process. Not only does SPSS allow you to run statistical tests, you can use SPSS for other purposes as well.
Data Collection and Organization
SPSS is often used as a data collection tool by researchers. The data entry screen in SPSS looks much like any other spreadsheet software. You can enter variables and quantitative data and save the file as a data file. Furthermore, you can organize your data in SPSS by assigning properties to different variables. For example, you can designate a variable as a nominal variable, and that information is stored in SPSS. The next time you access the data file, which could be weeks, months or even years, you'll be able to see exactly how your data is organized.
Once data is collected and entered into the data sheet in SPSS, you can create an output file from the data. For example, you can create frequency distributions of your data to determine whether your data set is normally distributed. The frequency distribution is displayed in an output file. You can export items from the output file and place them into a research article you're writing. Therefore, instead of recreating a table or graph, you can take the table or graph directly from the data output file from SPSS.
The most obvious use for SPSS is to use the software to run statistical tests. SPSS has all of the most widely used statistical tests built-in to the software. Therefore, you won't have to do any mathematical equations by hand. Once you run a statistical test, all associated outputs are displayed in the data output file. You can also transform your data by performing advanced statistical transformations. This is especially useful for data that is not normally distributed.
Art Corvelay is a freelance writer for demand studios who has been writing and editing for five years. He holds a Ph.D. in technical communication and teaches courses in writing and editing at the university level.