SPSS is the acronym of Statistical Package for the Social Science. SPSS is one of the most popular statistical packages which can perform highly complex data manipulation and analysis with simple instructions. It is designed for both interactive and non-interactive (batch) uses.
It is supported as one of the "Standard Tools" by University Information Technology Services (UITS). UITS Student Technology Centers consultants can provide assistance in accessing the program.
Note: If you are a student using SPSS for a class exercise, questions about your class work should be directed first towards your class instructors.
SPSS Program Functionality:
Breadth of functionality: Good
SPSS has scores of statistical and mathematical functions, scores statistical procedures, and a very flexible data handling capability. It can read data in almost any format (e.g., numeric, alphanumeric, binary, dollar, date, time formats), and version 6 onwards can read files created using spread sheet/data base software. It also has excellent data manipulation utilities.
The following is a brief overview of some of the functionalities of SPSS:
- Data transformations
- Data Examination
- Descriptive Statistics
- Contingency tables
- Reliability tests
- General Linear Model (Release 7.0 and higher)
- Nonlinear Regression
- Logistic Regression
- Loglinear Regression
- Discriminant Analysis
- Factor Analysis
- Cluster anlaysis
- Multidimensional scaling
- Probit analysis
- Forecasting/Time Series
- Survival analysis
- Nonparametric analysis
- Graphics and graphical interface.
Reliability and Robustness: Poor
SPSS has quite a few known bugs at this point. Bugs are corrected by applying an endless stream of patches, which may or may not introduce new bugs, and will almost certainly break other software installed on the system.
State of the Art: Excellent
SPSS Release 6.0 and higher are considered as one of the leading statistical software applications. The integration of the graphics module to the Base with excellent interface is just one example of the state of the art of the product.
User Friendliness: Good
SPSS has a very easy to learn command language. Explanation for keywords and subcommands are available through online help. UITS supports SPSS on a number of platforms.
SPSS for MAC: Very friendly, easy to learn software. Help is available by clicking the Help menu and making appropriate selections.
SPSS for Windows: State of the art product. Extremely friendly and easy to use. The vendor places a lot of emphasis on this platform. Help is available for each step (click Help menu).
SPSS for UNIX: SPSS 6.1 is available for UNIX and works well with Xterms/windows.
SPSS Help Resources:
Network-based help: Excellent
The Knowledge Base (KB) maintained by the UITS Support Center on the web has answers to several frequently asked SPSS questions. This KB may be searched using keywords (e.g., spss). SPSS also has an active international newsgroup group (spsx-l) which has subscription from around the world. There is no local SPSS user's group at IU. To join the national electronic mailing list, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the body of the message:
subscribe spssx-l [yourfirstname] [yourlastname]
Program's Help System: Excellent
SPSS offers extensive online help in Manager Mode, and in prompted session on mainframe and mini computers. SPSS on microcomputers also have extensive help utility.
SPSS Program Availability:
SPSS is available on UITS systems. For details, see the Statistics Software Availability page.
UITS may offer this software for personal and departmental purchases. See the Sales page for more information.
SPSS Training and Support:
Document Availability: Excellent
UITS makes basic manuals available in document racks in Student Technology Centers. Full documentation is available for reference and short term loan from various Software Manual Locations. Documentation is also available for reference at the UITS Stat/Math Center.
Training Availability: Good
UITS offers STEPS and ProSTEPS classes for SPSS free of charge for students. General classes are offered for a minimal fee for faculty and staff. Instructors may request for specially arranged class for introducing their students to SPSS by contacting the UITS Education Program. SPSS also includes an online tutorial.
User Goup: None
There is no local SPSS user's group at IU. To join the national electronic mailing list, send email to email@example.com with the body of the message:
subscribe spssx-l [yourfirstname] [yourlastname]
UITS Consulting Support: Full Support
Consulting support is available from Stat/Math Consulting from 9 am to 5 pm (M-F) via phone, email, and for walkins. Appointment is recommended for walkin consulting. UITS Support Center, and Student Technology Centers consultants might provide very basic support.
Other Consulting Support: Good
Registered SPSS users can contact the vendor directly with the number provided with the license agreement. Users can subscribe to the SPSSX-L discussion group and post their questions to the net. SPSS computists can always turn to their colleagues who are familiar with SPSS software for help.