How to use SPSS/About

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SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) was purchased by IBM in 2009. Shortly before the sale, the name was briefly changed to PASW (Predictive Analytics SoftWare). However shortly after it reverted to SPSS.

SPSS is a mature, proprietary, commercial statistical analysis software package with a graphical user interface. It is one of the most commonly used software solutions for statistical data analysis in academia, particularly the social sciences.

Use of SPSS is commonly, though not universally, taught to students in social science university degree programs around the world.

Several limitations, however, exist with use of SPSS, including:

  1. It is expensive (full version is over $1000, with annual license fees)
  2. Student versions are not fully functional (i.e., there are restrictions in the number of cases and variables and to advanced statistics).

Fortunately the free replacement w:PSPP is available at little or no cost, and has unlimited cases and variables. Some advanced statistics (notably GLM) however are not yet supported. Being able to use and teach use of SPSS/PSPP in many university social science departments is almost a requirement.

There are some excellent free online tutorials ranging from step-by-step for absolute beginners to advanced multivariate modelling. For managing and analysing data from questionnaires (which is how SPSS started in 1968) go to and look at Survey Analysis Workshop and SPSS and Useful Websites

Alternatives[edit | edit source]

  1. PSPP is a good, but incomplete free alternative, which has both GUIs and command line interfaces.
  2. One of the most robust R GUIs, Rcmdr is another free alternative to SPSS.
  3. Spreadsheet software such as can provide much of the statistical analysis requirements that may be performed by dedicated statistical analysis software packages

See also[edit | edit source]