Statistics in general is the science of collecting and analyzing data quantitatively. Reporting descriptive statistics is generally the first step in any quantitative study, from which inferences are made in generalizing information for the random sample of data. Descriptive statistics can include both graphic and numerical descriptions of the collected data (Mendenhall & Sincich, 2003, pp. 1-18). Box plots and historigrams are common graphic representations of descriptive data. Numerical descriptors can include an entire range of data. Retrieving the numerical and graphic statistics in SPSS is a fairly straightforward procedure.
Numerical Descriptors Edit
The greatest challenge in learning statistics for beginners is the lack of a common language. Different statistics textbooks and software packages often have different approaches to inscribing equations and different variations on a theme in naming the data retrieved. Generally, important numerical descriptive data in the initial analysis include:
- Sum - Sum|Statistic in SPSS
- Variable mean - Mean|Statistic
- The error of the mean - Mean|Std. Error
- Standard deviation - Std.|Statistic
- Variance - Variance|Statistic
The numerical descriptive data can be retrieved either with the graphic representation or alone. To retrieve only the numerical data, go to Analyze on the top bar. Move the mouse to Descriptive Statistics, then go to Descriptives. A window will pop up that will allow the user to choose for which variables data is to be retrieved. Choose the variables by either double-clicking the variable, or single clicking then selecting the center arrow button. Then, click Options and check the descriptives of interest for the initial analysis of the data. After choosing, click OK and the output window for SPSS will chart the data accordingly.
Mendenhall, W. and Sincich, S. (2003). A Second Course in Statistics: Regression Analysis, Sixth Ed. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.