An Intermediate Guide to SPSS Programming
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An Intermediate Guide to SPSS Programming
Using Syntax for Data Management



© 2005 | 248 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
An Intermediate Guide to SPSS Programming: Using Syntax for Data Management introduces the major tasks of data management and presents solutions using SPSS syntax. This book fills an important gap in the education of many students and researchers, whose coursework has left them unprepared for the data management issues which confront them when they begin to do independent research. It also serves as an introduction to SPSS programming; all the basic features of SPSS syntax are illustrated, as are many intermediate and advanced topics such as using vectors and loops, reading complex data files, and using the SPSS macro language.
 
Preface
 
Part I: An Introduction to SPSS
 
1. What Is SPSS?
A Brief History of SPSS  
SPSS as a High-Level Programming Language  
SPSS as a Statistical Analysis Package  
 
2. Interacting With SPSS
The SPSS Session  
SPSS Windows  
Basics About SPSS Commands  
Order of Execution of SPSS Commands  
Batch Mode and Interactive Mode  
 
3. Types of Files in SPSS
The Command or Syntax Files  
The Active or Working Data File  
The Output Files  
The Journal Files  
 
4. Customizing the SPSS Environment
Displaying Current Settings  
Changing Current Settings  
Eliminating Page Breaks  
Increasing Memory Allocation  
Changing the Default Format for Numeric Variables  
 
Part II: An Introduction to Computer Programming With SPSS
 
5. An Introduction to Computer Programming
Using Syntax Versus the Menu System  
The Process of Writing and Testing Syntax  
Typographical Conventions Used in This Book  
How Code and Output Are Presented in This Book  
Some Reasons to Use Syntax  
Beginning to Learn Syntax  
Programming Style  
 
6. Programming Errors
Syntax Errors and Logical Errors  
The Debugging Process  
Common SPSS Syntax Errors  
Finding Logical Errors  
Changing Default Error and Warning Settings  
Deciphering SPSS Error and Warning Messages  
 
7. Documenting Syntax, Data, and Output Files
Using Comments in SPSS Programs  
Using Comments to Prevent Code From Executing  
Documenting a Data File  
Echoing Text in the Output File  
Using Titles and Subtitles  
 
Part III: Reading and Writing Data Files in SPSS
 
8. Reading Raw Data in SPSS
Reading Inline Data  
Reading External Data  
The FIXED, FREE, and LIST Formats  
Specifying the Delimiter Symbol  
Reading Aggregated Data With DATA LIST  
Reading Data With Multiple Records Per Case  
Using FORTRAN-Like Variable Specifications  
Two Shortcuts for Declaring Variables With Identical Formats  
Specifying Decimal Values in Data  
 
9. Reading SPSS System and Portable Files
Reading an SPSS System File  
Reading an SPSS Portable File  
Dropping, Reordering, and Renaming Variables  
 
10. Reading Data Files Created by Other Programs
Reading Microsoft Excel Files  
Reading Data From Earlier Versions of Excel  
Reading Data From Later Versions of Excel  
Using GET TRANSLATE to Read Other Types of Files  
Reading Data From Database Programs  
Reading SAS Data Files  
 
11. Reading Complex Data Files
Reading Mixed Data Files  
Reading Grouped Data Files  
Reading Nested Data Files  
Reading Data in Matrix Format  
 
12. Saving Data Files
Saving an SPSS System File  
Saving an SPSS Portable Data File  
Saving a Data File for Use by Other Programs  
Saving Text Files  
 
Part IV: File Manipulation and Management in SPSS
 
13. Inspecting a Data File
Determining the Number of Cases in a File  
Determining What Variables Are in a File  
Getting More Information About the Variables  
Checking for Duplicate Cases  
Looking at Variable Values and Distributions  
Creating Standardized Scores  
 
14. Combining Data Files
Adding New Variables to Existing Cases  
Adding Summary Data to an Individual-Level File  
Combining Cases From Several Files  
Updating Values in a File  
15. Data File Management  
Reordering and Dropping Variables in the Active File  
Eliminating Duplicate Records  
Sorting a Data Set  
Splitting a Data Set  
Selecting Cases  
Filtering Cases  
Weighting Cases  
 
16. Restructuring Files
The Unit of Analysis  
Changing File Structure From Univariate to Multivariate  
Incorporating a Test Condition When Restructuring a File  
Changing File Structure From Multivariate to Univariate  
Transposing the Rows and Columns of a Data Set  
 
17. Missing Data in SPSS
Types of Missing Data  
System-Missing and User-Missing Data  
Looking at Missing Data on Individual Variables  
Looking at the Pattern of User-Missing Data Among Pairs of Variables  
Looking at the Pattern of Missing Data Across Many Variables  
Changing the Value of Blanks in Numeric Fields  
Treatment of Missing Values in SPSS Commands  
Substituting Values for Missing Data  
 
18. Using Random Processes in SPSS
The Random-Number Seed  
Generating Random Distributions  
Random Selection of Cases  
Random Group Assignment  
Random Selection From Multiple Groups  
 
Part V: Variables and Variable Manipulations
 
19. Variables and Variable Formats
String and Numeric Variables  
System Variables  
Scratch Variables  
Input and Output Formats  
The NUMBER Format  
The COMMA, DOT, DOLLAR, and PCT Formats  
 
20. Variable and Value Labels
Rules About Variable Names in SPSS  
Systems for Naming Variables  
Adding Variable Labels  
Adding Value Labels  
Controlling Whether Labels Are Displayed in Tables  
Applying the Data Dictionary From a Previous Data Set  
 
21. Recoding and Creating Variables
The IF Statement  
Relational Operators  
Logical Variables  
Logical Operators  
Creating Dummy Variables  
The RECODE and AUTORECODE Commands  
Converting Variables From Numeric to String or String to Numeric  
Counting Occurrences of Values Across Variables  
Counting the Occurrence of Multiple Values in One Variable  
Creating a Cumulative Variable  
 
22. Numeric Operations and Functions
Arithmetic Operations  
Mathematical and Statistical Functions  
Missing Values in Numeric Operations and Functions  
Domain Errors  
A Substring-Like Technique for Numeric Variables  
 
23. String Functions
The Substring Function  
Concatenation  
Searching for Characters Within a String Variable  
Adding or Removing Leading or Trailing Characters  
Finding Character Strings Identified by Delimiters  
 
24. Date and Time Variables
How Date and Time Variables Are Stored in SPSS  
An Overview of SPSS Date Formats  
Reading Dates With Two-Digit Years in the Correct Century  
Creating Date Variables With Syntax  
Creating Date Variables From String Variables  
Extracting Part of a Date Variable  
Doing Arithmetic With Date Variables  
Creating a Variable Holding Today's Date  
Designating Missing Values for Date Variables  
 
Part VI: Other Topics
 
25. Automating Tasks Within Your Program
Vectors  
The DO IF Command Structure  
The DO REPEAT Command Structure  
The LOOP Command Structure  
 
26. A Brief Introduction to the SPSS Macro Language
The Parts of a Macro  
Macros Without Arguments  
Macros With Arguments  
Specifying Arguments by Position  
Macros Using a Flexible Number of Variables  
Controlling the Macro Language Environment  
Sources of Further Information About SPSS Macros  
 
27. Resources for Learning More About SPSS Syntax
Books  
Web Pages  
Mailing Lists  
 
References
 
Index
 
About the Author

“The book makes a distinct and important contribution to the field by focusing on an important set of skills that is often only briefly touched upon (if at all) in courses or texts. SPSS users benefit from having solid familiarity with syntax coding in addition to being able to use the pull-down menus. A careful study of this book will help readers advance these important skills.”

Eric Einspruch
RMC Research Corporation

"Where was this manual when I was trying to learn SPSS for my dissertation after switching from MiniTab? It would have been a valuable tool to save enormous amounts of time. It is succinct and to the point."

Wanda J. Long
St. Charles Community College

Helpful and valuable resource for any person undertaking data analysis using SPSS. Recommended for masters and doctoral research students.

Ms Kelly Maguire
Marketing Department , Leisure and Tourism, Sligo Institute of Technology
February 17, 2016

Very few students would need this book. Would recommend to individuals as needed. Clear and helpful

Professor James Parrott
Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Health Related Professional
March 12, 2013

This short guide on SPSS syntax is a welcome addition to the literature and covers functions and areas that often aren't taught as part of the mainstream curriculum. Due to the advanced nature of using syntax (rather than the accessible GUI) this is really a book for postgraduates and academics.

Dr Luke Sloan
Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
March 7, 2011

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