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 Entering Variables into SPSS: Working with the Data Editor  1. Once an SPSS file is open CLICK ON “VARIABLE VIEW” found as a tab on the left bottom portion of the file 2. Type the names of your variables under the heading “NAME” (e.g. ethnicity, annual salary) 3. By clicking on the “TYPE” column you will find options for the type of variable you would like to have. Most common type is “Numeric.” A variable whose values are numbers. For example, annual salaries, anxiety scores, GDP, LDL levels, score on a certain test, such as SAT, GRE. If you see that your variable's type is “String,” this means that SPSS does not consider this variable's values (scores)  numeric and therefore you cannot use this variable in your analyses. There are 2 common reasons why your variable is a string variable. First, it has letters instead of numbers. For example, you entered "M" for male and "F" for female under a variable "Gender... read more

My recommended strategy to Students at all academic levels for learning and successfully passing the course at all modalities (on-line, on-ground) is the culmination of at least ten years of teaching and tutoring statistics at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels in business, management, sciences, social studies, and psychology. It consists of the following: 1. The first is to learn how to overcome fear and anxiety from the unknown and look at tutoring as a prudent investment to your immediate future and success. Engage the tutor from the start of the course and don't prolong the decision because of the complexity and quantitative nature of the subject area. This component of the overall strategy is to keep the weekly normal pace and retain basic real life knowledge for ongoing participation in the political and economic process of the National affairs and State-of-the-Union. 2. Academic Reading Materials and Study Guides encompass three distinct sections... read more

It is often examples that make ideas understandable to students and current events can be a good source of examples. Case in point. Today in Wisconsin, the issue of the day is the outcome of the recall elections and problems with the exit polling. As a tutor, the outcome isn’t interesting, but exit polling like all surveys is key to the usefulness of statistics! In fact, it gives a great opportunity to illustrate some of the basic (and non-mathematical) ideas and concepts of statistics — usually the ideas presented at the beginning of most introduction-to-statistics courses. Statistical inferences are grounded in some basic definitions and assumptions (in bold). A population is a defined collection of individuals that we want to know some data about and a sample is a group taken from the population that we are going to actually collect data from (Sullivan, 2010, p. 5; Triola, 2010, p. 4). If we wanted to know the actual data about a population, which is called a parameter,... read more

In the past few days I've helped several students deal with statistic "packages" that are available to "help" people deal with those sort of calculations. The most famous of these is probably SPSS, but there are others such as STATA and R. The problem with all of these is that, while they are directed at those who are not necessarily well-versed in math, engineering, and computing, they demand expertise in all of those areas just to get on with getting a simple average. This is despite having newer graphical user interfaces available. In the case of SPSS, there's a tendency to throw jargon around, then have outputs that are phrased in a confusing manner. An example is showing "significance" by showing the value of p, which at high significance approaches zero---thus the question "is this statistic significant?" is answered "yes, this statistic with a ZERO in the "sig" column is significant". That's very counterintuitive... read more

So when I was an undergrad, I was not always happy with the teaching methods of some of my professors. I believe that learning is very distinctive quality and every student does it at their own pace and through different ways. For example some people are good visual learners. Displays and illustrations help them maintain what they learn, that is not necessary for me (and maybe you reading this right now). I remembered better if I write things down and make my own notes, that might not be the case for others. As a result it is very important that you figure out which learning methods work best for you. This especially important in the field of statistics in order to understand the concepts and method behind different statistical tests. Here is a list a few things that I found helpful when I was taking statistics for social sciences: 1) Read chapters before each class session 2) Keep up with reading assignments 3) Be sure to complete all homework assignments on time 4)... read more

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