working with alien SPSS files

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Informação sobre diversos inquéritos e acesso aos dados respetivos

Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind: working with alien SPSS files

[New page 23 Oct 2014: last updated 5 June 2017]

[NB: Notes and commentaries below may arrive as pdf files in your download folder]

Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind: working with alien SPSS files (pdf)

An alternative working title would have been: Sows’ Ears and Silk Purses: working with other peoples’ SPSS files as a follow-up to Old Dog, Old Tricks, my 2006 presentation to ASSESS.  Thought about using Old Dog, New Tricks, but it doesn’t carry the same sense of horror and fun.

Slide-shows covered recent work on other people’s files, including a live demo of Jon Peck’s Python code to move question numbers from the end to the beginning of variable labels and to change labels from UPPER to Mixed case text.  Also included were some new tricks and demos of things I didn’t know SPSS would do until I tried.  I haven’t used PowerPoint since York 2006, but I  found [Alt][PrintScreen] and MS Snip incredibly useful for getting screenshots into Word, and they also copied easily into Ppt.  The presentation ran SPSS live, drawing on my explorations of:

British Social Attitudes
Commentary on SPSS file for British Social Attitudes 2011 (pdf)
Notes on British Social Attitudes 2004 teaching data set (pdf) as used by Marsh and Elliott, 2008

​(See also page British Social Attitudes which has links to later commentaries on the ease of use and understanding of SPSS saved files distributed by UKDS on page British Social Attitudes: ​Exploring the SPSS files and detailed accounts of my creation in 2016 of a cumulative mother fille for all waves 1983 to 2014 on page British Social Attitudes 1983 to 2014: Cumulative SPSS file

Understanding Society
Commentary on Understanding Society 2010 (pdf)

NORC General Social Survey (GSS)
As of March 2016, the NORC GSS website has been completely revamped and is easier to navigate.   Some of the content in the following commentaries may now be otiose.
Commentary on full NORC General Social Survey 2008 (pdf)
Commentary on subset of General Social Survey 2008 (pdf) (as used by Sweet & Grace-Martin)
Commentary on GSS 2008 SPSS files for Babbie et al (pdf) (as used by Babbie, Halley, Wagner & Zaino)

(UK) ONS National Well-being
[New page 2 May 2015]
ONS National Well-being

Commentary on Unrestricted Access Teaching Dataset (ONS Opinions Survey, Well‐Being Module (pdf)
Data set and user guide from the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research, Manchester now renamed the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research, . This dataset (SN7146) contains a selection of variables from the April 2011 wave of the ONS Opinions Survey, Well-Being Module, April –  August 2011 (SN 6893) which in turn is part of the regular government survey  Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, run in various guises since 1990

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British Social Attitudes

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Inquerito e dados respetivos sobre atitudes sociais no UK

British Social Attitudes 1983 onwards
​Cumulative SPSS file

[New page 22 June 2016: last updated 14 Feb 2017]

Cumulative files 1983 onwards
Attempting analyses across waves became increasingly frustrating as I encountered a range of anomalies, incompatibilities and inconsistencies, not to mention universally incomplete and/or incorrect specifications of measurement levels, missing values and value labels.   Accordingly I set myself the  task of generating a complete cumulative SPSS file containing the data from all waves from 1983 to 2014 (one colleague described this undertaking as Herculean) to provide what will hopefully be a valuable resource for teachers, students and researchers.  The 2015 wave was added in January 2017.

Index to UKDS downloads for British Social Attitudes 1983 – 2014 is an Excel file detailing, for each wave 1983 – 2014, year of survey, link to UKDS, download filename, size of file, number of cases, number of variables, number of variables with non-numeric formats and the new working filename assigned to amended files. The amended *.sav files were sent to Natcen for approval and possible deposit with UKDS, but are now superseded.

Non-numeric variables in British Social Attitudes is a step-by-step account of identifying, in each wave, variables with the same name, but different formats.  Several of these variables are specified as Strings with widths varying from A4 to A60, but some are in fact numbers.  Others are dates or times in DATE or TIME format and one is in COMMA1.  These and other factors prevent merging data from different waves using the SPSS command ADD FILES.  It’s been quite complex and tedious tracking them all down, but I eventually managed to create cumulative files for 1983 – 1994 and 2011 – 2014.  Merging 1995 – 2005 and 2006 – 2009 was more daunting, as several pro​blems remained to be resolved, but I eventually managed to generate a draft cumulative file for the whole series.  Much more meticulous and painstaking detective work and editing was required before a beta version was ready for public release.

Cumulative SPSS file 1983 to 2014
This task was completed on 20 June 2016 and the pass-word protected “mother” file (0.99 gb) has now been lodged (via Dropbox) with Natcen and UKDS for approval and distribution.  Custom-written Python code, freely and generously supplied by Jon Peck (retired Senior Software Engineer, IBM-SPSS) has saved me weeks if not months of painstaking needle-in-haystack searches. I also wish to thank Dr Chris Stride (Sheffield) who suggested using the sort facility in Excel to separate variable names with single (positive) missing values from those with paired (positive and equivalent negative) missing values.

For sure, some mini-glitches may remain, but to find and resolve these would at this stage be completely uneconomic of my time.  However users are warned that, because metadata for repeated variables are taken from the most recent wave, the value labels for categories of some variables differ from those of earlier waves.  This is particularly true of ordinal variables for income groups.

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SSRC Survey Unit Quality of Life

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Dados e descrição de um inquérito sobre qualidade de vida no UK

The abstracts contain details of content, sampling, fieldwork and available data files.  The questionnaires are facsimiles of the actual questionnaires used in the field.  The user manuals contain questionnaires, unweighted frequency counts on the raw data as well as technical information on fieldwork, sampling, coding, show-cards and interviewer instructions.  The SPSS saved files are restorations from original files generated in the 1970s with some editing of SPSS setup files from 1970s versions to SPSS  for Windows (11, 15, 18 and 19): a few (self-explanatory) derived variables have been left in.

Quality of Life in Britain: 1st Pilot Survey,  March 1971

1:  Abstract
2:  Questionnaire
3:  User Manual
4: SPSS saved file for 1st pilot

Quality of Life in Britain: 2nd Pilot Survey, Oct-Nov 1971

1:  Abstract
2:  Questionnaire
3:  User Manual
4: SPSS saved file for 2nd pilot

Quality of Life in Britain: 1st National Survey 1973

(replicated simultaneously in Stoke-on-Trent and Sunderland)

1:  Abstract
2: Questionnaire
3:  User Manual for main GB survey

4a: SPSS saved file for main GB survey 1973
4b: SPSS saved file for Stoke-on-Trent survey 1973
4c: SPSS saved file for Sunderland survey 1973

Quality of Life in Britain: 2nd National Survey 1975

1:  Abstract
2:  Questionnaire
3:  User Manual
4: SPSS saved file for main GB survey 1975

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British Social Attitudes

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Dados de um inquérito britânico sobre atitudes sociais

The British Social Attitudes survey is the leading social research survey in Britain. Since 1983, the annual surveys
conducted by the National Centre for Social Research (Natcen) have continually monitored and interpreted the British public’s changing attitudes towards social, economic, political and moral issues. Its findings are reported
and interpreted in a series of annual reports.

The  British Social Attitudes Information System is maintained by the Centre for Comparative European
Survey Data (CCESD) to provide non-specialist users with on-line access and analysis of a cumulative database of over 20,000 survey questions asked in British Social Attitudes surveys over the last 25 years.
Data and documentation from all surveys from 1983 are routinely deposited with the UK Data Service (UKDS) based at Essex University and can be searched on their page  British Social Attitudes Survey .  Files are accessible from UKDS: the list of currently available waves is on British Social Attitudes links 1983 onwards.  I am currently working on tutorials using data from the 2011 wave and from the 2009 to 2014 waves in the cumulative file.   Some of these are already available on page 3.2 Three (or more) variables and in 4.2.1  Income differences – Statistical significance

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Data sets used in Survey Analysis

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mais dados de inquéritos diversos no UK

Raw data sets are exactly as they would arrive from the fieldwork agency or from institutional data-prep services (in 80-column ASCII format, fixed width font).

SPSS saved files for British Social Attitudes 1986 and 1989 and Quality of Life in Britain are initial files only.  Variables in the BSA series are (re-) named using the positional naming convention.  There are no mnemonic names and no derived variables, but these will be generated during the exercises.  These files have full permissions for use and distribution.

SPSS (19, 21 and 22) can open *.sav and *.sps files downloaded from this site and also save them to a drive on your computer.  Earlier tutorials and exercises require you to define a few variables, read in raw data and add  dictionary information, then save the files. However, for surveys with dozens, if not hundreds, of variables, this would be too onerous a requirement,  especially for beginners.  Later tutorials and exercises will need access to much larger saved files containing hundreds of variables and thousands of cases.

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What is SPSS?

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Uma explicação para as ciências sociais

What is SPSS and what does it do?

SPSS consists of an integrated series of computer programs which enable the user to read data from questionnaire surveys and other sources (e.g. medical and administrative records) to manipulate them in various ways and to produce a wide range of statistical analyses and reports, together with documentation.

Most users will have access to SPSS via their college or workplace or by purchasing the Gradpack version (specially priced for students).  Full  details are on IBM SPSS Solutions for  Education and there is a comparison table showing what is available in each version.

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Summary guide to SPSS tutorials

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Bom site com vários recursos sobre a utilização do IBM SPSS

Catalogue of SPSS tutorials is an Excel *.xlms file containing a full listing (with hyperlinks) of all tutorial files.[may not be completely up-to-date]

Guide to pop-out menus shows all the screenshots for menus and sub-menus for Survey  Analysis Workshop [may not be completely up-to-date and site has been re-organised, so needs a re-write, but still useful to show you what to expect]

There are more than 600 pages of downloadable tutorials arranged in four blocks.

Block  1: From questionnaire to SPSS saved file

1.1:   The language of survey analysis
1.2:   How do data relate to questionnaires?
1.3:   Reading raw data into SPSS
1.4:   Completing your data dictionary
1.5:   Utilities [still in preparation]

Block 2:  Analysing one variable

2.1:   Nominal and ordinal variables
2.2:   Interval scale variables
2.3:   Data transformations

Block 3:  Analysing two variables (and sometimes three)

3.1   Contingency tables
3.2   Three variables
3.3    Multiple response
3.4    Comparing means
3.5:   Conditional transformations

Block 4:   Hypothesis testing
[Still in preparation: provisional contents listed below: page also has links to some useful resources for statistical concepts]

Hypothesis testing
4.2a  t-test and one way anova
4.2b  Testing differences between three or more means
4.3  Chi-square (has one tutorial)
4.4  Regression and correlation
4.5  Association, structure and cause

SPSS files and documentation used for tutorials and exercises

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Journeys in Survey Research

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Bons conjunto de dados e explicações de como usar.

1:  Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind: working with alien SPSS files

Data sets explored

European Quality of Life Survey (2007)
Understanding Society (2010)
ONS Opinions Survey, WellBeing Modules (2011)
(including unrestricted access data set for April 2011).
NORC General Social Survey (GSS)   (2008)
British Social Attitudes (2011)
British Social Attitudes (2004)

European Quality of Life Survey
European Quality of Life Survey (UKDS: 6299)

Understanding Society
Understanding Society (UKDS: SN 6614)
Commentary on Understanding Society 2010 (JFH)

ONS Opinions Survey, WellBeing Modules
(including unrestricted access data set for April 2011)
Measuring National Well-being (ONS website)
WellBeing Modules April-Sep 2011 (UKDS: SN6893)
Unrestricted Access Teaching Dataset (UKDS: SN 7146)
Introduction and Commentary: Unrestricted Access Teaching Dataset (JFH)

NORC General Social Survey (GSS)
1:  Commentary on full NORC General Social Survey 2008

2:  (Book) Sweet & Grace-Martin
Data Analysis with SPSS: A First Course in Applied Statistics (Pearson 2010)
(can be rented as e-book from CourseSmart)
Commentary on subset of General Social Survey 2008

3:  (Book) Babbie, Halley, Wagner & Zaino
Adventures in Social Research: Data Analysis Using IBM SPSS Statistics (Sage 2103)
Commentary on GSS 2008 SPSS files for Babbie et al

British Social Attitudes (2011)
British Social Attitudes 2011 (UKDS: SN 7237)
Commentary on SPSS file for British Social Attitudes 2011 (JFH)

British Social Attitudes (2004)
(Book) Marsh & Elliott Exploring Data (Polity Press, 2008)
Review of Exploring Data (JFH)
Exploring Data Teaching Datasets (UKDS: SN 6096)
Commentary on SPSS files in Teaching Datasets (JFH)

European Social Survey (2002)
Notes on SPSS files for European Social Survey 2002
(private exchange between JFH and ESS team)

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SPSS videos e trials

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Um site da IBM com bastantes recursos sobre o SPSS

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Software Trial: IBM SPSS Amos Trial

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Online Demo: IBM SPSS Regression in action

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Online Demo: Two-step cluster analysis: Find natural groups in your data [US]

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Watch a short demonstration of the two-step cluster analysis technique in SPSS Statistics Base.

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White Paper: White Paper: Better decision making under uncertain conditions [US]

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This paper describes Monte Carlo simulation, the value of this technique for risk analysis and how SPSS Statistics and its Monte Carlo simulation capabilities can help businesses assess for risk.

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White Paper: The Risk of Using Spreadsheets for Statistical Analysis [US]

White Paper: The Risk of Using Spreadsheets for Statistical Analysis [US]

Despite their popularity, spreadsheets may not be well suited for analysis and decision making. This paper explores why, and describes a better alternative.

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Site oficial IBM SPSS

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site com muita info. e documentação para o SPSS

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