- Peer Review: “Exercises Using SPSS to Explore Measurement, Validity, and Relationships Among Variables”
Exercises Using SPSS to Explore Measurement, Validity, and Relationships Among Variables
- May 14, 2018 by Sociology
The goal of this exercise is to create a measure of religiosity. We will also validate our measure. Validity refers to whether we are measuring what we think we are measuring. If we can show that we are measuring what we say we are measuring, that we have validated the measure. Once we have validated the measure, we’ll see how it is related to other variables. The data set used in this exercise is gss0204_subset_for_classes.sav which is a combination of the 2002 and 2004 General Social Surveys. (Some of the variables in the GSS have been recoded to make them easier to use and some new variables have been created.) The data have been weighted according to the instructions from the National Opinion Research Center. This exercise uses RECODE and IF in SPSS to create new variables and CROSSTABS to explore the relationships among variables. In CROSSTABS, students are asked to use percentages, Chi Square, and an appropriate measure of association. You could also skip the part of the exercise that involves the creation the new measure of religiosity, since that variable (RELIGOS) is included in the data set. Then you could go directly to Parts III and IV which deal with validity.
- Type of Material:
Assignment and step by step procedures using the statistical affordances of SPSS. The assignment is divided into four sections: -Recoding the existng data -Construction of the instrument -Validating the instrument -Exploring relationships with other variables in the data sets.
- Recommended Uses:
Assignment, self-paced learning, practice. While this exercise can be demonstrated in a classroom setting in vivo, an instructor can make a video to place on the web to illustrate the steps to complete the assignment. This can make the entire assignment applicable in a virtual/distance learning course. Where this can be self paced, the assignment can be used by teams who work together online such as in Google Hangouts or another program.
- Technical Requirements:
- Identify Major Learning Goals:
There are several assignments for learning statistical procedures available on the SSRIC website. All the assignments identify learning goals and provide explanations on the use of the procedure and interpreting results.
- Target Student Population:
College General Education. While the assignment addresses a social and cultural issue, the statistical demonstration can be used in other allied disciplines. This assignment may also be used in businesses to illustrate how to construct measures for social research.
- Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
SPSS basic knowledge.
Learning objectives are stated and are supported by the assignments. The explanations of the procedures and interpretation of the results are clearly articulated. There is some flexibility built in to allow only some of the goals to be used in the assignment.There is sufficient information to conduct the assignment including links to online texts on the use of SPSS and its relationships to basic statistics. There are additional resources for the instructors including some notes in a document to better explain the data sets, the construction of the codebooks, and some potential conclusions. Contact information is also given for the authors.
It would be best to bundle a series of these assignments from the Social Science Research and Instructional Center (http://ssric.org). Sometimes knowledge of previous statistical procedures may be beneficial.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
It is self-paced and allows students to access the assignment multiple times. Learning objectives are clearly described towards the beginning of the page. There is clarity on prerequisite knowledge needed. At each step, there is built in reinforcement, thereby assuring a learning process. The course assignment is both the exercise and the deliverable in which the student must summarize the implications of the new data and use of the instrument.The assessment of student learning has both clear objective measures of outputs and some latitude for interpretation.
It would be better to connect to the overall SSRIC website, instead of individual assignments. This allows instructors to more effectively locate relevant assignments. Students may need to have a recommendation on the sequencing of the assignments. For those students who may make some errors in the steps outlined, there could be something like an FAQ and clear visuals which may anticipate some of the potential errors along the way.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
There is a consistency in all the statistical assignments. This decreases the learning curve necessary to navigate the assignments. The method of learning rests upon reading and application of the steps to the datasets. This would be sufficient for most students.The interface divides each section into steps which are covered in paragraphs. Additional resources are found in a column on the left side of the page. Datasets are found conveniently at the bottom of the page as well as other tools.
The visual issue could be further addressed, especially for those who may have some visual impairment. While the instructions are clear, the font is standard and there is much syntax to be read. The interface is mainly in print and could be broken up with screenshots.
- Other Issues and Comments:
This could be a very helpful tool to make a case for students to recognize the importance of the development of a validated instrument and awareness of the resources of free data from the government etc.It is not clear how current this tool is as SPSS is often updated. Hopefully a note can be placed on the page as to the last time revised.
- Creative Commons: