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Getting started with SPSS


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The aim of this tutorial is to help students new to statistics and new to SPSS to learn how to get started with studying statistics using the software package SPSS. For many students statistics represent an area that they are concerned about, either because they have had little experience of statistics before, or due to concerns over the mathematics that might be involved.

Statistics learning often involves the additional issue of software such as SPSS. Although this helps to cut down the amount of mathematics that students will have to do in practising statistics, it can sometimes add another layer of complexity to learning statistics.

As a result of both concerns over understanding the mathematics underlying statistics, and learning the software at the same time, some students may develop anxiety around their own learning of statistics.

The aim of this unit has been to develop a resource for students who may lack confidence in mathematics and/or computing. Often, resources that are available involve some mathematics, or are statistic descriptions of the use of the software. More recently the role of immersion in learning has become a topic of interest. Based on this and on a consideration of the research on statistics learning, we have designed a series of interactive tutorials for learning statistics and SPSS. They are presented in this unit as seven separate activities.

Other statistical software packages are available and may also be suitable for those who wish to carry out statistical research. Links to two such alternatives are provided below. The Open University is not recommending or endorsing SPSS or any other statistical software, and the URLs provided are for the purpose of illustrating that other such software packages are available. The URLs are for ease of access only and do not illustrate any recommendation or endorsement that the software available is in any way fit for purpose.

  • SPSS Statistics

  • SAS products and solutions

  • Minitab statistical software

This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course Exploring psychology (DSE212) [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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