- Peer Review: “Exercise Using SPSS to Explore Relationships Among Variables”
Exercise Using SPSS to Explore Relationships Among Variables
- May 30, 2018 by Sociology
The goal of this exercise is to explore the relationship between religiosity and other variables using crosstabulation. This exercise will focus on two-variable relationships and then on three-variable relationships. The concepts of explanation, spuriousness, and replication will also be explored. 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 instructions from the National Opinion Research Center. This exercise uses RECODE and CROSSTABS in SPSS to explore relationships among variables. In CROSSTABS, students are asked to use percentages, Chi Square, and an appropriate measure of association. Two-variable and three-variable relationships will be explored, along with the concepts of explanation, spuriousness, and replication.
- Type of Material:
- Recommended Uses:
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. While this can be self paced, the assignment can also be used by teams who work together online such as in Google Hangouts or other programs.
- Technical Requirements:
Ability to use SPSS.
- Identify Major Learning Goals:
The goal of this exercise is to explore the relationship between religion and politics on the one hand and attitudes about abortion on the other hand. The assignment looks at the relationship between religion and abortion first and then looks at the relationship between politics and abortion. Finally the assignment explores the relationship of both religion and politics on attitudes toward abortion. The goals for the student include:
-Student demonstrated competence in using several SPSS commands
-RECODE to combine categories of variables
-FREQUENCIES to see how people answered the questions
-CROSSTABS to explore relationships between and among variables.
- Target Student Population:
This assignment requires basic knowledge of statistics and so would likely be used for a graduate population, although it might be an advanced assignment at the undergraduate. Where 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 analyze data for social research.
- Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic use of SPSS Basic skills in reviewing the help texts and guides (referenced in this assignment) on the use of various SPSS commands as well as the implications of findings. May need to use networking such as in a learning management system.
Learning objectives are stated and are supported by the assignments. The explanations of the procedures and intrepretation of the results are clearly articulated. 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, some potential conclusions. Contact information is also given to the author.
Many students learn through visual demonstration. This procedure is described with the use of words and could use visuals including snapshots, videos etc. It would be best to bundle a series of these assignments from SSRIC (https://ssric.org/). Sometimes knowledge of previous statistical procedures may be beneficial.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
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 is self-paced and allows students to access the assignment multiple times.
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. It would be better to connect to the overall SSRIC website (https://ssric.org/), 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.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
In the current webpage, 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. There is a consistency in all the statistical assignments. This decreases the learning curve necessary to navigate the assignments.
The visual issue could be further addressed, especially for those who may have some visual impairment. Where the instructions are clear, the font is standard and there is much syntax to be read. The interface is mainly in print and so 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 statistical SPSS options of RECODE to combine categories of variables, FREQUENCIES to see how respondents answered the questions. and CROSSTABS to explore relationships between and among variables as well as 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: