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Considerations When Analyzing Survey Data with SPSS

The statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software is useful to scholars and social scientists working on research and survey-based projects, thus, one can analyze survey data or conduct other quantitative analysis with it. This article outlines some of the considerations to make when using SPSS to analyze survey data. The SPSS software is preferred in comparison to other software because of:

  • Its global standards of data analysis in social science.
  • The English-like command and straightforward language.
  • Excellent organization of output.
  • The wide range of functionalities for statistics programming, visualization, and survey programs.
  • The simplicity of data transformation and management.
  • Allowing statisticians and research agencies to document a dictionary for metadata that acts as the central archive for the survey data.

In addition to the various statistics programs for quantitative data analysis, SPSS has text analysis functions for surveys to derive insights from qualitative material obtained from open-ended questions. SPSS software for in-depth statistical analysis and evaluation of scientific data that is useful in data mining, market research, and survey programs.


Use of SPSS in analysis of survey data makes it easy to process the raw data collected from respondents into meaningful answers and insights to improve real-life practices. An analyst should leverage the descriptive statistics such as frequencies and cross-tabulation forms; bivariate statistics such as t-tests, correlations, regression analysis, and analysis of variance (ANOVA), and multivariate analysis when applicable to deduce meaningful insights from survey data. Some of the factors one should consider when analyzing survey data with SPSS include:

1. The research question to be answered with the collected data

Before commencing data analysis using SPSS, one should first review the research objectives to understand the underlying questions the survey seeks to answer or address. Reviewing the research questions before analyzing data helps in determining if the questions align with the aims and objectives of the study.

2. Types of variables to be analyzed

A statistician should clearly determine all the variables in a particular data set before commencing data analysis with SPSS. One should ensure that both categorical and nominal variables are defined based on the nature of questions posed during the survey. One should also use the relevant statistics to illustrate and deduce meaning from the variables yielded by the questions asked to produce the most accurate results. Both dependent and interdependent variables must be well defined for a coherent analysis process.

3. Data structures

The data structures to be laid out in the statistical package for the social science depend on the type of analysis to be conducted and the data type collected. One should ensure that each case is represented in a row and that all categorical variables are represented by numbers. All the columns and rows must be well-labeled with the relevant variables put in place.

4. Cross-tabulation of the data

Cross-tabulation enables the analyst to look through the data to uncover meaning. One should break down the data depending on the subgroups within the study sample types and populations to compare the relationships between variables; producing a table that provides the overall overview of the variation of responses from the respondents.

5. The format of survey questions

The formatting of survey questions affects the type of answers received from the respondents. One should assess the formatting, clarity, and coherence of the questions to determine the correctness or appropriateness of the answers. Additionally, the questions ought to be structured in a manner that the target audience can easily understand and answer.

6. Types of survey data to be analyzed

The type of data generated depends on the nature of questions asked. An expert data analyst should leverage on the SPSS software functions to analyze quantitative data. The appropriateness of statistical tests and procedures differ with data types and the purpose to be accomplished. The level of measurements for variables also affect the choice of statistical procedures to be followed.

7. Validity and reliability

It is fundamental to test the validity and reliability of the methods used to administer the survey to minimize the gap of interpretation between the respondents and the researcher. The data analyst should assess the level of consistency of the questionnaires over time to determine how valid or reliable the data collection tools are in collecting the survey data. For best results, the layout and types of questions should be unambiguous for proper answering by the respondents.

8. Use of statistical tests to analyze the results

Statistical analysis of survey data is conducted by giving commands in the software to generate results based on the data that has been entered. Statistical tests such as regression, t-test, and ANOVA are some of tests conducted to determine whether the observed results are statistically significant, identify important aspects of the data, and reveal the types of relationships that exist between variables.

By considering the above factors and using the right functions of the SPSS software, one should process survey data with effectiveness to yield accurate and valid results. Should one face challenges in using the software, one can seek data analysis services from experts near them or source for such services online.

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