How to Report Descriptive Statistics using SPSS?

Learn how to Run, Interpret, and Report Descriptive Statistics using SPSS

Descriptive Statistics using SPSS

Once you know that data is free of obvious data entry errors, you can start the descriptive portion of your research (Learn More About Identification and Correction of Data Entry Errors). Mostly the descriptive statistics are used in the methodology section of the theses. Descriptive statistics are used to summarize and present this data in a meaningful manner so that the underlying information is easily understood. This chapter presents some of the tools for summarizing various kinds of data with the help of SPSS. Some basic terms and concepts have also been briefly explained.

Data Analysis and Results starts with the presentation of descriptive statistics. The video tutorial provides a detailed guide on how to run, interpret, and report descriptive statistics in a paper/thesis using SPSS.

What is Descriptive Statistics?

Descriptive statistics are numerical and graphical methods used to summarize data and bring forth the underlying information. The numerical methods include measures of central tendency and measures of variability.

Descriptive statistics in SPSS can be accessed by clicking Analyze Menu → Descriptive Statistics. Detailed information can be obtained using Frequencies, Descriptives, Explore or Crosstabs. There are, however, different procedures depending on whether you have a categorical or continuous variable. Some of the statistics (e.g. mean, standard deviation) are not appropriate if you have a categorical variable.

Descriptive Statistics for Categorical Variables

To obtain descriptive statistics for categorical variables, you should use Frequencies. This will tell you how many people gave each response (e.g. Count of Male/Female respondents, How many Field Staff or How many respondents from Office Staff). It doesn’t make any sense asking for means, standard deviations etc. for categorical variables, such as sex or marital status.

Steps involved in obtaining descriptive statistics for categorical variables

  1. Choose Analyze Descriptive StatisticsFrequencies.
  2. Select variables of your interest from the left list box, and press the arrow button to drop it in the Variable(s) list box. More than one variable can be selected from the list of variable in the study using Shift key. In this case we select Gender, Job Rank and Occupation.
  3. Click on OK.

The results are displayed in the output window. A total of 4 tables are displayed. First table Statistics summarizes the categorical variables under study. The table shows how much of the observations are valid and if there are any missing values in the data. N refers to the total number of observations.

Next set of table include Frequency table for Gender, Rank and Occupation

Frequency Output



Interpretation and reporting of Categorical Variables

From the output shown above, we know that there are 414 males (1) (53.5%) and 360 females (2) (46.5%) in the sample, giving a total of 774 respondents. Researchers must note the number of respondents in different subgroups of the sample. For some analyses (e.g. ANOVA), it is easier to have roughly equal group sizes. If you have very unequal group sizes, particularly if the group sizes are small, it may be inappropriate to run the analyses.

As mentioned above descriptive statistics are normally reported in the methodology section under the head of frequencies where each of the categorical variables can be reported separately.

Descriptive Statistics Continuous Variables

For continuous variables (e.g. age) it is easier to use Descriptives, which will provide you with ‘summary’ statistics such as mean, median and standard deviation. Since you don’t want to count every single value if incase there are hundreds of values. Continuous variables can also be categorized and then it’s meaningful to take frequency distribution of the variable. This would be discussed in detail in the Transformation chapter. Variables on Scale (interval and Ratio) can be selected for descriptive statistics.

Steps involved in obtaining descriptive statistics for continuous variables

  1. Choose Analyze Descriptive StatisticsDescriptives.
  2. Select variables of your interest from the left list box, and press the arrow button to drop it in the Variable(s) list box. More than one variable can be selected from the list of variable in the study using Shift key. In this case we select Age and TNA1.
  3. Click on OK.
Descriptive Statistics Output SPSS

Interpretation and reporting of Continuous Variables

From the output shown above, we know that the average age of respondents in the study is 29.24 with standard deviation of 8.26. These results can be reported when you are discussing the sample for your study in the methods section.

Descriptive statistics in SPSS can also provide different statistics; one is the distribution of score on continuous variables (Skewness and Kurtosis). These statistics are important when using parametric statistical techniques (t-tests, ANOVA, Correlation or regression).

Skewness provides indication if the distribution is symmetric or not, while Kurtosis on the other hand provides information about the ‘peakedness’ of the distribution. If the distribution is perfectly normal, you would obtain a Skewness and kurtosis value of 0 (rather an uncommon occurrence in the social sciences).

Positive Skewness values indicate positive skew (scores clustered to the left at the low values). Negative Skewness values indicate a clustering of scores at the high end (right-hand side of a graph). Most researchers consider data to be approximately normal in shape if the Skewness and kurtosis values turn out to be anywhere from – 1.0 to + 1.0. In order to Display Skewness and Kurtosis on the output, Select Options Button after entering the variables in the Variable(s) list box, and select you will be shown the following dialog box

Skewness and Kurtosis Option SPSS

Check Kurtosis and Skewness, Press Continue and then press OK. Now the Descriptive Table will show Skewness and Kurtosis.

Reporting Descriptive Statistics

To download the Sample Template, Click Here

Video: Step by Step Guide on How to Run, and Report Descriptive Statistics using SPSS

Reporting Descriptive Statistics using ChatGPT

Demographic profiling of respondents is a crucial component of research studies, providing valuable insights into the composition of the sampled population. In this tutorial, we will demonstrate a step-by-step process for summarizing demographic variables into a concise paragraph, using SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences), and ChatGPT for assistance.

Begin by importing your dataset into SPSS and identifying the demographic variables of interest. For this illustration, let’s assume you have data on gender, age, employment status, job rank, and the type of bank.

Step 1: Descriptive Statistics

Access the descriptive statistics function by navigating to “Analyze” > “Descriptive Statistics” > “Frequencies.” Here, select the variables you wish to summarize—gender, age, employment, job rank, and type of bank—then click “OK.”

Step 2: Organizing the Tables

Upon generating the frequency tables, proceed to copy them by pressing Ctrl+C or using the “Edit” menu. Paste these tables into a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word, to arrange them neatly.

Step 3: Merging and Labeling Tables

Arrange the tables, ensuring all borders are visible for clarity. Merge these individual tables into a single comprehensive table. Clearly label the columns with the corresponding variable names—gender, age, employment, job rank, and type of bank—to enhance interpretability.

Step 4: Removing Unnecessary Columns

Eliminate redundant or irrelevant columns, such as cumulative percentages and valid percentages, to streamline the presentation. This can be achieved by clicking on the column header and pressing the “Backspace” key. Arrange the categories within each variable to maintain a coherent structure.

Step 5: Generate Description using ChatGPT

Copy the final table and paste it into ChatGPT. Optionally, add an asterisk (*) next to each variable name to signify that this is a variable followed by the categories. . Ensure that the table aligns with the demographic data in your study. Add the following prompt to generate the statistics
“Summarize the following Frequency Table for a Research Paper in a Paragraph. The variables are marked by an Asterisk (*) followed by the frequency and percentage for each category of the demographic variable”. 

Step 6: Inclusion in Research Paper or Thesis

For inclusion in your research paper or thesis, provide a caption below the table. For instance, “Table 1: Demographic Profile of Respondents” serves as an appropriate heading. Make adjustments to the table layout to enhance visual clarity, such as autofitting the window and eliminating unnecessary empty spaces.

Step 7: Verification

Lastly, it is crucial to meticulously review the generated summary to ensure accuracy and alignment with the original data. This step ensures that the details provided in the summary match the underlying dataset.

The tutorial demonstrates a systematic approach to summarizing the demographic profile of respondents using SPSS and ChatGPT.

Additional SPSS Tutorials