Getting started with SPSS
The aim of this OpenLearn course is to provide a step-by-step introduction to some of the most commonly used statistics in the social sciences, and the computer programme we use to carry out these analyses: SPSS. This tutorial is aimed at students who are both new to statistics, and new to 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. These interactive videos are designed to help you familiarise yourself with the basic statistics that you are likely to use as part of your course and reduce any anxieties you may have about studying and using statistics.
The good news is that these days, when we carry out statistics in social science, very little of it is done by hand. Instead, we use a computer programme to do most of the hard work for us. The most common computer software that we use for carrying out statistics in the social sciences is the aptly named: Statistical Package for the Social Sciences or SPSS. But while using SPSS may help to cut down the amount of maths and calculations that you have to do by hand, it can sometimes add another layer of complexity to learning statistics.
Again, these tutorials have been developed to help alleviate any concerns you make have about using the program itself by. Each tutorial interactively guides you through the SPSS program, taking you through the basics of what the program to do, with the aim of increasing your familiarity and confidence with using SPSS. You don't even need to have SPSS installed on your computer to use them.
Throughout this course you will take part in seven separate activities (or tutorials). Through each of these you will learn the basics of SPSS, as well as learning how to produce some commonly used statistics. All of the tutorials are based on SPSS version 25, but don't worry if you have a different version of the programme – they are all recognisable!
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.
SPSS Statistics The R Project for Statistical Computing
SAS products and solutions
Minitab statistical software
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 2