Where to Launch SPSS/How to Launch SPSS

You can launch the statistical software SPSS at any “thin client” in Goslin Computer Lab, Goodman Computer Lab, or the Library. It must be a “thin client” – not a full computer. After you have logged in, notice the Citrix icon in the lower-right corner of the screen (called the system tray); it is a small icon with a red ball. Right-click on that icon for a pop-up window. Scroll to the top option “Applications.” There is a right-arrow on that line. When you hover on that line, a second pop-up window will open to the left or right of the original pop-up window. Move to the top of that second pop-up window; the line will be labeled “Academic Applications” and will have a right-arrow on it. When you hover on that line, yet another pop-up window will open to the left or right. Move to the bottom line for SPSS. When that bottom line is highlighted, click to launch the program.

Initial Options, Interface, and Inputting Data

When you launch SPSS, a dialog box opens to start your first task; here are your options.

I recommend that you first run the tutorial for a fuller introduction to the power of SPSS. After you have finished the tutorial, you can pick the “Type in data” option. Click on the button next to the option and then the OK button.

The SPSS data window is arranged like the Stat Editor in your TI-83/TI-84 graphing calculator. Data sets are put into columns: each column represents a different data set. The columns are not named L1, L2, … , L6 as in the calculator; each column is simply called “var” for variable. When you click on the first empty box/cell and type a piece of data, the column’s name will change to “Var00001.” If you type data in the second column, it will change from “var” to “Var00002,” etc. Type the data in the first column as you do in your graphing calculator.

For practice, type in the data below from your first graphing calculator handout. (Reminder: The magazine Forbes publishes an extensive report about the wealthiest people in the United States. One variable under study is the age, in years, of billionaires in this country. The data set below is a random sample of such ages.)


























Click on the name of the column/column heading at the top of the column. This will highlight the entire column/data set. Then you can pick from the pull-down menus at the top of the screen to analyze the data. We will use the “Analyze” and “Graphs” menus.

From the “Analyze” menu, pull down to “Descriptive Statistics” and then over/down to “Explore.” Click. This brings up a dialog box to pick what variable you intend to analyze. The big, left box contains a list of all the columns/variables which have data. Click on the only one that has data: Var00001. Then click on the top triangle button to move that data set from the list of variables to “Dependent List” of variables. Leave the other two boxes blank. Make sure that the “Both” button is selected in the lower-left corner. Then click OK.

This brings up an output window with all kinds of wonderful descriptive statistics: mean, median, variance, standard deviation, IQR, etc. It also generates two graphs: a stemplot and a boxplot.

You can save this output window/viewer, if you’d like. For your project, you just need to print it. Click on the printer icon/button (the third button on the second row in the upper-left corner). If you typed in the data correctly, you should see the exact results from the pages at the end of this handout.

Click the close button in the upper-right corner. That will exit the output viewer/window and return to your data window. You can click YES or NO when it prompts you to save your output. You are turning in the printed copy; so, you do not have to save.

Back in the data editor mode, your first column containing the billionaires’ ages should still be highlighted. From the “Graphs” menu, pull down to the “Histogram” option and click. Click on the Var00001 line in the left, big box to select it. Click on the top triangle button to move that data set into the top box for “Variable.” Then click OK. That brings up another output window/viewer. Follow the same directions as above to print that histogram. To check your work, it should match the output at the end of this handout.

Close the output window/viewer, and you can again choose to save or not. You will be back to the data editor mode.

Now, to explore further, enter other data sets from your homework or your own collection. They can be either quantitative or qualitative. Try the other menus and buttons; have fun!