Statistical and Data Management Training Courses available on an inhouse basis:
Data management using SPSS syntax

Who is the course aimed at?
This course is aimed at a very wide audience, namely anyone who ever has to handle data using SPSS! It is particularly beneficial if you collect your own data and need to convert it to SPSS format, and/or have to create variables, merge data from different files, etc.

There are very few grey areas in managing data - your data is either accurate or it is not. And if it is not, then it is more than likely that the results from your analysis of it will be incorrect too. Learn to improve your data managment skills and hence create more time for the more interesting parts of a study i.e. the analysis of it, safe in the knowledge that you are working from an accurate, fully documented data set.

Using the SPSS syntax language to import, organise and manipulate your data is substantially more efficient time-wise than using the menus, and has the dual advantages of simple repeatability and of providing an audit trail for your work. Course examples and data sets will largely come from survey data, but the skills learned are applicable and widely transferable to an incredibly wide variety of scenarios.

Course level:
Whilst some previous experience of using SPSS via the menus (i.e. point and click) is expected, no previous experience in using the SPSS syntax language is required.

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

  • Starting with syntax - why use SPSS syntax, the basics of writing and running syntax; determining when your command runs
  • Some simple SPSS commands - opening and saving files, describing data via frequencies, descriptives and crosstabs
  • Reading data into SPSS from other formats - handling text format, Excel format data,
  • Defining and documenting data, variable names, variable labels, value labels, missing value, formatting data
  • Creating new variables - recoding, computing, count, performing calculations on subsets via DO IF - END IF, making multiple calculations using DO REPEAT loops
  • Manipulating cases - selecting subsets of data for analysis, filtering files, splitting files, sorting cases
  • Manipulating files - aggregating files, restructuring files, matching files, adding cases, updating files
  • Data Management: a worked example - best practice for creating and managing a complex data set

    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 the further capabilities of SPSS syntax. You will also receive a 50-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 20 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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