SPSS Basic Skills Tutorial: Data Entry

When we are creating a new data set, it is typical to start by definining the names and other properties of the variables first and then entering the specific values into each variable for each independent source of data. Recall that there is one row for each independent source of data and one column for each characteristic (i.e., variable) that we have measured from each data source. There are times, however, when we decide to add additional variables after we have entered some of the data. Adding variables after the fact does not present any special challenges; we simply go to the variable view, click in an empty row, and start defining our new variables as we do below. The first step to defining variable names and properties is to select the variable view tab in the data window. Then we can create (or edit) each of the properties below.

Entering the Data

The first step for entering the actual data is to click on the Data View tab.

To enter new data, click in an empty cell in the first empty row. The "Tab" key will enter the value and jump to the next cell to the right. You may also use the Up, Down, Left, and Right arrow keys to enter values and move to another cell for data input.

To edit existing data points (i.e., the change a specific data value), click in the cell, type in the new value, and press the Tab, Enter, Up, Down, Right, or Left arrow keys.

Lab Activities

  1. Open a new data set in SPSS
  2. Create a nominal variable called cat_dog that has a width of 3 with 0 decimal places. The label should be "Do you like cats or dogs better?". The values should be 1 for cats and 2 for dogs (or vice versa). Do not worry about missing data codes.
  3. Create a scale variable called neatness that has a width of 8 with 3 decimal places. The label should be "Eric Cartman's Neatness Scale (higher = neater)". There will be no value labels.
  4. Enter data for the following cases
    • case 1 prefers cats and has a neatness of 4
    • case 2 prefers dogs and has a neatness of 3
    • case 3 prefers dogs and has a neatness of 7
    • case 4 prefers dogs and has a neatness of 2
    • case 5 prefers cats and has a neatness of 5
    • case 6 prefers cats and has a neatness of 1
    • case 7 prefers cats and has a neatness of 3
    • case 8 prefers dogs and has a neatness of 6
  5. Change the neatness of the second case from 3 to 6, like you would if you discovered a data entry error.
  6. Save your data set

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