Surviving SPSS: a step by step guide to data analysis using SPSS - (2 days)

This course is presented by Assoc Prof Julie Pallant, author of the SPSS Survival Manual: A step by step guide to data analysis using SPSS. This book, published by Allen & Unwin, was written to provide students and researchers with an easy to follow guide to the whole research process, from designing a study to analysing and reporting the results.


Master Class - runs over 2 days

Assoc Prof Julie Pallant recently retired as Director of Research and Graduate Studies at the Rural Health Academic Centre, University of Melbourne. She now works as a research and statistical consultant, providing training, both nationally and internationally, in a wide variety of topics including statistical analyses using SPSS, scale development, and psychometric testing using Rasch analysis.

About this course: 

This 2-day, hands-on, course is designed for people who have little, or no, experience with SPSS. It provides a gentle introduction to statistical analyses using SPSS, particularly suited for those involved in research in the social and health sciences, education and business. It does not assume any prior experience with SPSS or statistical training. You will be provided with datafiles to practice on. Given the short 2-day structure, there will not be any time set aside for analysing your own data.


On Day 1 you are taken on a guided tour of SPSS and will learn how to set up a data file, code data and to use descriptive statistics and graphs to explore the data. You will be shown how to manipulate your data ready for statistical analyses (sorting, recoding variables, computing total scores, selecting cases, splitting the file).


On the second day you will be shown how to use SPSS to perform a number of basic statistical analyses including techniques to compare groups (t-tests, analysis of variance), techniques to explore relationships (correlation). A number of non-parametric techniques will also be covered (chi-square, Mann Whitney U, Wilcoxon Signed Rank test).

Course syllabus: 

Day 1: Getting Started with SPSS

  • Tour of SPSS Windows, menus, and dialogue boxes
  • open, save and close SPSS data and output files
  • prepare a data entry codebook
  • create a SPSS data file
  • enter data into an SPSS data file
  • check a data file for errors
  • correct errors in the data file
  • obtain descriptive statistics
  • create a variety of graphs (histograms, bar graphs)
  • manipulating the data to form new variables (computing totals, collapsing categories)
  • sorting the data file
  • splitting the datafile, selecting specific cases for analyses



Day 2: Using SPSS for Statistical Analysis

  • choose appropriate statistical techniques to address specific research questions
  • perform a variety of statistical procedures and interpret the output (including preliminary assumption testing where appropriate)
  • Depending on the needs of participants, statistical techniques will include:
  • chi-square
  • correlation
  • paired samples t-test, independent groups t-test,
  • one-way between groups ANOVA, one-way repeated measures ANOVA,
  • two-way ANOVA
  • non-parametric techniques (Mann Whitney U, Wilcoxon Signed Rank test, Friedman test)


Course format: 

This two day master-class will be held in the ACSPRI Office in Melbourne with participants bringing and using their own laptops preloaded with SPSS.


If you don't have a copy of SPSS, you can download a free trial version before the course starts.

Please note the trial version only lasts 14 days, so please don't initiate the software until just before, or at the course.

Recommended Background: 

This course does not assume any prior experience with SPSS or statistical training.

Recommended Texts: 

Participants will be provided with a copy of Julie’s book:


  • Pallant JF (2016) SPSS Survival Manual: a step by step guide to data analysis using SPSS for Windows (6th  edition). Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, Sydney.