[ Murdoch University logo and link to homepage ]
School of Chemical and Mathematical Sciences

SPSS Procedures to Calculate the Sample Mean, Standard Deviation, Minimum, Maximum and Range

Version 17

  • Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Frequencies
  • Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Descriptives
  • Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Explore
  • Analyze > Tables > Custom Tables
For further explanation see Section 2 of Introduction to SPSS 17


SPSS Procedures to Calculate the Sample Median

Version 17

  • Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Frequencies
  • Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Explore
  • Analyze > Tables > Custom Tables
For further explanation see Section 2 of Introduction to SPSS 17


SPSS Procedures to Calculate the Sample Quartiles and Interquartile Range

Version 17

  • Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Frequencies - calculates quartiles (by SPSS method) but not the interquartile range
  • Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Explore - calculates quartiles and interquartile range amongst its default descriptives option, and also Tukey's hinges if you tick the percentiles option
  • Analyze > Tables > Custom Tables - calculates percentiles 25 and 75 (by the method of Tukey's hinges) but not interquartile range.
For further explanation see Section 2 of Introduction to SPSS 17


SPSS Procedures to Calculate the Sample Quantiles or Percentiles

Version 17

  • Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Frequencies - calculates any number of percentiles at any specified percentage
  • Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Explore - limited to percentiles 5, 10, 25, 50, 75, 90, 95 (has trouble calculating the last two in small data sets)
  • Analyze > Tables > Custom Tables - limited to 5, 25, 50(the median), 75, 95, 99 (no calculation problems in small data sets, although method is unclear)
For further explanation see Section 2 of Introduction to SPSS 17


SPSS Procedures to Draw Boxplots

Version 17

  • Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Explore - the quickest way by far to draw boxplots for many variables at a time
  • Graphs > Legacy Dialogs > Boxplot - an involved process which necessitates correct choice of alternatives at the outset
  • Graphs > Legacy Dialogs > Interactive > Boxplot - quickest method for a single plot with the added option of 3-D effect
  • Graphs > Chart Builder > Boxplot - presumably this is the future of SPSS graphing so you should become familiar with it. Drawing boxplots is relatively straightforward.
For further explanation see Section 6 of Introduction to SPSS 17


SPSS Procedures to Draw Histograms

Version 17

  • Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Frequencies - frequency histograms for many variables at a time
  • Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Explore - frequency histograms for many variables at a time, possibly split according to a categorizing variable
  • Graphs > Legacy Dialogs > Histogram - simplest single plot method, but can't draw a relative frequency histogram
  • Graphs > Legacy Dialogs > Interactive > Histogram - can do relative frequency, 3-D effect and true 3-D (two variable) histograms (just don't mess with the start point)
  • Graphs > Chart Builder > Histogram - appears more complicated than it need be. Default options are acceptable and most are better edited once the plot is drawn (except the choice of relative frequency, which must be done beforehand).
For further explanation see Section 6 of Introduction to SPSS 17

Note: SPSS will choose the bins automatically to its own taste, as well as the scales on the vertical and horizontal axes. If you don't like SPSS's choices, then double click the histogram in the output window to open the Chart Editor. Double click what you want to alter and a dialogue box will appear. E.g. Double click on the x axis to change its scale, labelling or choice of bins.