What Type of Data Is SPSS?


Larry Thompson

What Type of Data Is SPSS?

IBM SPSS Statistics is a software package used for statistical analysis. It is widely used in various fields like social sciences, healthcare, market research, and more.

Before we dive into the details of what type of data SPSS can handle, let’s first understand the basics.

Understanding Data Types

Data in SPSS can be classified into different types based on their characteristics and the level of measurement. The main data types supported by SPSS are:

Nominal Data

Nominal data represents categories or groups without any numerical value. It consists of discrete variables that cannot be ranked or ordered.

Examples include gender (male, female), marital status (single, married, divorced), and ethnicity (Asian, African American, Caucasian).

Ordinal Data

Ordinal data also represents categories or groups but with an inherent order or ranking between them. However, the difference between the categories may not be equal.

Examples include movie ratings (poor, average, good), education levels (elementary school, high school, college), and Likert scale responses.

Interval Data

Interval data is continuous and has a specific order with equal intervals between values. It allows for mathematical operations like addition and subtraction but not multiplication or division.

Examples include temperature measured in Celsius or Fahrenheit and years.

Ratio Data

Ratio data is similar to interval data but has a meaningful zero point. It allows for all mathematical operations.

Examples include weight, height, time duration in seconds.

Data Preparation for SPSS Analysis

To perform statistical analysis using SPSS effectively, it’s essential to prepare your data correctly. Here are a few steps you can follow:

  1. Data Cleaning: Remove any inconsistencies, duplicates, or missing values from your dataset to ensure accuracy in your results.
  2. Data Coding: Assign codes or labels to different categories or groups in your data. This step is crucial for analyzing nominal and ordinal data.
  3. Data Transformation: Convert measurements into the appropriate scale if needed. For example, transforming a temperature from Celsius to Kelvin.

Once you have prepared your data, you can import it into SPSS and start analyzing it using various statistical techniques provided by the software. SPSS allows you to perform descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, regression analysis, factor analysis, and much more.


In conclusion, SPSS is capable of handling various types of data, including nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio data. Understanding the type of data you are working with is crucial for selecting the appropriate statistical analysis techniques.

Remember to clean and prepare your data before importing it into SPSS for accurate results.

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