Statistical and Data Management Training Courses available on an inhouse basis:
Advanced SPSS Syntax and SPSS Macros

Who is the course aimed at?
This course is aimed at a SPSS users who have experience of basic syntax and want to extend their skills through learning to write more complex sequences of code, to increase both working efficiency and scale - in particular 'SPSS macros', which are self-built, bespoke SPSS functions.

Once you have mastered the basics of SPSS syntax, extending those skills is little harder, and brings continuous gains in terms of time saved. SPSS macros are particularly beneficial if you frequently work with, have to combine or restructure large and complex datasets. Automating processes for reading, formatting, labelling and writing out files, for instance, is a huge time-saver in database management tasks. Another potential gain lies in reducing code and effort required to perform repetitive sequences of analyses on different variables, datasets or subsets of data.

Course level:
Previous experience and a basic working knowledge of the SPSS syntax language is required.

Course content and aims:
The course will cover the following topics:

  • Conditional computing: IF and DO IF END IF statements
  • Conditional selection for analysis: the SELECT IF command
  • DO REPEAT loops
  • Vectors
  • Loops using the LOOP END LOOP command
  • Nested loops, indexed loops and conditional loops
  • SPSS Macros: why and how
  • Writing a basic macro without arguments and using MPRINT to monitor a macro in action
  • Adding positional arguments to a macro using !POS and !TOKENS
  • Adding flexible numbers of tokens and keyword arguments to a macro
  • Using the INSERT command to store and call the macro remotely
  • Special SPSS Macro Language commands: flexible labelling using !LET, !CONCAT, !QUOTE and !IF
  • Special SPSS Macro Language commands: using an !IF - !IFEND structure to add default options to arguments
  • Special SPSS Macro Language commands: looping within macros

    The course will take the form of a mixture of teaching via examples worked through by the trainer on real data sets which participants can follow, exercises to practice the skills just learned, and a few short demonstrations of specific SPSS macros. You will also receive a 60-page coursebook containg all the notes and worked examples, providing an easy reference and reminder for the techniques you have learned.

    Course timings: The course fits comfortably into a full day, starting at around 9.15am and finishing at around 5.30pm, with a 45 minute lunch break, and short mid-morning and afternoon coffee breaks. Transport timings for my return journey permitting, I am always willing to stay on for a while after the end of the course to answer questions pertinent to participants' own data sets.

    The teacher:
    Dr Chris Stride has been using SPSS in his work as a statistician and data manager for the last 15 years. He has particular experience and expertise in teaching non-statisticians from the fields of psychology, HR, management and the social sciences. He is a member of the ASSESS (UK SPSS Users Group) Committee, and runs courses for ASSESS, inhouse courses at UK Universities and public sector institutions and public training courses based at the University of Sheffield.

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