How to use SPSS/Descriptives

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Descriptive & Graphical Exercise Using SPSSEdit

  1. Assumed knowledge: Allen and Bennett Chapter 3: Summarising and displaying data (pp. 19-32)
  2. For univariate descriptive statistics and graph(s), determine the level of measurement and then decide on appropriate statistics and graphing.
  3. Download and open the datafile: World95.xls
  4. Conduct the univariate and bivariate descriptive and graphical analyses outlined below.


Determine the level of measurement and obtain appropriate univariate descriptives and graphs to depict the nature of responses to each of the following variables:

  1. LIFEEXPF (Life expectancy for females)
  2. RELIGION (Main religion of country)

Statistically, you may consider using:

  1. frequency / % / mode
  2. median
  3. mean, SD, skewness, kurtosis

Graphically, you may consider using:

  1. bar graph
  2. pie chart
  3. stem and leaf plot
  4. boxplot
  5. histogram
  6. line graph
  7. error bar

Converting tables and graphs to APA styleEdit

Default SPSS tables and graphs generally need considerable editing in order to be presented in APA style.

Figures - edit in chart editor, then copy into word processor
  1. Caption below - note italicisation, capitalisation
  2. Greyscale unless Colour is really needed
  3. Axis titles
  4. Legend - if needed
  5. More info and examples: [1], [2]
Tables - copy to word processor and edit
  1. Caption above - note italicsation, capitalisation
  2. Horizontal lines above and below heading row and below bottom row - no other lines
  3. Remove redundant columns and rows
  4. Use labels rather than variable names
  5. More info and examples: [3], [4], [5]

See alsoEdit

  • Advanced descriptive and graphing exercises