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Descriptive Statistics & Frequency Tables

In this tutorial you will learn: 1. How to compute basic descriptive statistics 2. How to split files 3. How to read SPSS Output 4. How to create simple frequency tables 5. How to create frequency tables with two variables

Descriptive Statistics
Convert large sets of data to more meaningful, easier to interpret, chunks or values. They summarize the data. Ex: mean, median, variance, and range.

SPSS contains a function that will compute many of these statistics. Analyze Descriptive Statistics Descriptives A new window will appear with two boxes. The box on the left contains the variables with which descriptive statistics may be calculated (i.e., numeric variables). Move the variables of interest to the right-hand box with the arrow button. By default, SPSS will provide the following: mean, standard deviation, sample size, minimum value, and maximum value. To select additional options or de-select default options, click the Options button. Any item with a check-mark will be computed, for each variable selected in the previous step. Under display order, you may select the order in which the variables appear in the output. When you are finished, click Continue to return to the variable-selection window and click OK. SPSS will compute the statistics and open a new window (Output) with the descriptive statistics.


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Reading SPSS Output

The following output is the result of selecting the variables age and score.

Notice there are two frames: the one on the left lists all the analyses available for viewing, as well as any notes and titles relating to those analyses; the one on the right depicts the results of the analyses. The variables are listed on the left followed by the statistics we selected earlier. We can see that the average age is 20.20 with a standard deviation of 2.484.

How to split groups

If you want to calculate descriptive statistics on sub-groups (such as males and females separately), you may split your files. To do this: Data Split File Determine how you want to split your data set. To separate by gender, select Organize output by groups and move the variable gender to the right-hand window. Then select OK.


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When you run descriptive statistics on any variable, they will be reported for each level of sex. See below: Descriptives gender = 1 Male
Descriptive Statistics(a) N age score Valid N (listwise) a gender = male 12 12 12 Minimum 18 45 Maximum 22 98 Mean 19.58 80.08 Std. Deviation 1.505 15.986

gender = 2 Female
Descriptive Statistics(a) N age score Valid N (listwise) a gender = female 8 8 8 Minimum 18 75 Maximum 29 94 Mean 21.13 82.75 Std. Deviation 3.399 6.798

You will have to turn off this feature if you want to compute statistics for the whole group, by selecting Analyze all cases, do not select groups.


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Frequency Tables
Frequency tables include lists of values (categories) within each selected variables and the number of times each category occurs. To create a table of frequencies (number of occurrences of given categories), select Analyze Descriptive Statistics Frequencies. Select the variables to be depicted in the frequency table by moving them from the left- to the right-hand box. SPSS provides the user additional options, including statistics, charts, and format: Click: Statistics SPSS will, by default, print the values of the selected variables and the frequencies of each. If you prefer additional information, click Statistics: Options include percentile values. SPSS will print quartiles (fourths) or the values that divide the data into X equal groups (cut points). The number of groups is defined by the user. SPSS will also print selected percentiles. Simply, select Percentile(s), then type in the percentile of interest and click Add. We have selected thirds. You may also select descriptive statistics, like measures of central tendency and dispersion, as well as statistics describing the distributions. When finished, select Continue. Click: Charts This option creates bar charts, pie charts, or histograms in addition to the frequency table. This might be useful if there are many categories for each variable or if two or more variables are to be compared. The charts may contain frequencies or percentages. Click: Format Use this option to determine the order categories will appear and whether or not multiple variables should be compared. This will impact how results are presented. To cut back on the amount of output, users may choose not to view tables with

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many categories. When finished click Continue to return to the variable-selection window. Then click OK. Output The new analyses are added to the descriptive statistics. Notice the addition in the lefthand frame. The following statistics are for the variable age and score. Notice there are a total of 20 cases, and none are missing. The mean test score is 81.15 and 20.20 for age. The test score value of 79.00 cuts off the 33rd percentile (33% of cases fall at or below this value), and so on.

If we scroll down the page, we will find additional results: This table lists the values of the variable age and the frequency of occurrence of each.
age Frequency 5 4 3 5 2 1 20 Percent 25.0 20.0 15.0 25.0 10.0 5.0 100.0 Valid Percent 25.0 20.0 15.0 25.0 10.0 5.0 100.0 Cumulative Percent 25.0 45.0 60.0 85.0 95.0 100.0


18 19 20 21 22 29 Total


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Next, SPSS provides a bar chart depicting these frequency results, as selected under Charts.


A similar table and chart were created for the variable score.
18 19 20 21 22 29



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Frequency Tables with Two Variables

If you want to create a frequency table with two variables (crossed variables), such as the number of males and females at each age, use the Crosstabs procedure. Analyze Descriptive Statistics Crosstabs This will allow the user to create a table with one variable representing rows and another representing columns. Select the appropriate variables and move them to the correct box. SPSS will create tables with more than two variables. Simply move the additional variables to the Layer box. The Statistics option allows for statistics evaluating the association between variables. Cells allow the user to define what values to include in the cells. Format provides the option to report categories in ascending or descending order. The output is as follows: Crosstabs
Case Processing Summary Cases Valid N gender * age 20 Percent 100.0% N 0 Missing Percent .0% N 20 Total Percent 100.0%

gender * age Crosstabulation Count age 18 gender Total male female 4 1 5 19 2 2 4 20 3 0 3 21 1 4 5 22 2 0 2 29 0 1 1 Total 12 8 20

Notice there are 5 eighteen-year-olds 4 male, 1 female. There are 3 male twenty-yearolds, etc.


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1. Open the data Practice Data BMI 2. Calculate the mean, standard deviation and range of BMI, height and weight across all subjects. 3. Split the file by gender and calculate the mean and standard deviation of BMI for males and females. 4. Remove the split and create a frequency table for gender. 5. Create a frequency table that includes both gender and height. Output should look like: 2. Descriptives
Descriptive Statistics N BMI Weight Height Valid N (listwise) 10 10 10 10 Minimum 18.24 120 60 Maximum 29.41 205 71 Mean 24.6491 155.20 66.50 Std. Deviation 3.86056 29.123 3.629

3. Descriptives Sex = F
Descriptive Statistics(a) N BMI Valid N (listwise) a Gender = female 5 5 Mean 22.6380 Std. Deviation 3.94790

Sex = M
Descriptive Statistics(a) N BMI Valid N (listwise) a Gender = male 5 5 Mean 26.6603 Std. Deviation 2.79934


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4. Frequencies
Statistics Gender N Valid Missing

10 0 Gender Cumulative Percent 50.0 100.0


male female Total

Frequency 5 5 10

Percent 50.0 50.0 100.0

Valid Percent 50.0 50.0 100.0

5. Crosstabs
Case Processing Summary Cases Valid N Gender * Height 10 Percent 100.0% N 0 Missing Percent .0% N 10 Total Percent 100.0%

Gender * Height Crosstabulation Count Height 60 Gender Total male female 1 0 1 62 0 1 1 64 0 1 1 65 0 1 1 67 1 0 1 68 0 1 1 69 1 1 2 70 1 0 1 71 1 0 1 5 5 10 Total