Today I discovered that the 3rd edition of SPSS Statistics For Dummies is already available on Amazon in Kindle format. Note that you don’t need a Kindle to use this format. I read Kindle titles on my laptop all the time. I often buy technical books in Kindle format so that I have access to them when I’m on the road. Jesus Salcedo and I put a ton of effort into this new edition. The last edition was five years old, and had somewhat more of a programming focus than we favored in an introductory title. Without the help of our colleague Aaron Poh, we could not have got this new edition done so soon after the release of version 23. My thanks goes out to them both.
While you are perhaps waiting for the print edition, or you just want to check out some material right away, I’d like to draw your attention to the free content for the book:
The Cheat Sheet focuses on what we felt was 1) Easy to forget 2) Especially Important 3) Draws new users to useful new areas. If you are an established user, you would have to agree that Level of Measurement, for instance, is critical to get correct in newer versions because SPSS automatically makes assumptions about the three levels. We also point you in the right direction for charting, and list the most common Analyze menus. Finally, we review how to interpret significance using a simple T-Test as an example.
There are also ‘Web Extras’ for each of the book’s sections (except the opening introductory section). In the For Dummies world, these web extras are free content that complements the book, but is different content than the book. Get started here, and you will like what you find there. Then you can get the book, and it will have all new content. Keep in mind that the web extras should be easy to follow, but are not as basic as starting from the beginning of the book and reading the whole thing. I hope that eventually you will have a chance to check out all of the content.
II Getting Data In and Out of SPSS
For this sections, we chose a Web Extra that covers Automatic Recode. This is an easy trick if you have a variable with a bunch of string categories, but it has not been properly set up yet with pairs of values and labels. Much more about values and labels in Chapter 4, Entering and Defining Data.
III Messing with the Data Once it is in there
In Chapter 10, Manipulating Files, we cover both kinds of Merge (merge add cases and merge add variables). In the Web Extra for Part III, we cover Aggregate.
Part IV is a fairly extensive introduction to SPSS Statistics charting and graphing. There is a lot available here. Much more than folks think. For Web Extra we chose to show a quite new, and very cool recent feature – the Compare Groups Graph.
The analysis section is a massive update to the 2nd edition. We placed much more emphasis in the 3rd edition on the generation and interpretation of statistics results. We do not get too advanced given the nature of an introductory text. We keep it brief, and easy to understand, but we do a thorough job on the basics. For instance, we covered Independent Samples T-Test in detail, but Paired Samples T-test is the Web Extra for this section.
VI: Settings, Templates, and Looks
SPSS has just tons of settings, and in the book we explain the default settings, and your other options. We explain how to use existing Table Looks in Part IV. In the Part VI Web Extra we show you have to make your own Table Look.
We held back a bit on the programming content. We included what felt like a natural fit for this book. I have a lot more information on SPSS Statistics Programming however, including a great chapter in the forthcoming SPSS Statistics for Data Analysis and Visualization. Please contact me if you need more help on SPSS Programming. In the Web Extra we discuss Graphics Production Language (GPL). Very cool stuff.
VII: Part of Tens
The Parts of Tens part of any For Dummies book is a lot of fun. It is a kind of “Top Ten” list. In the book, we offer up list of Ten Modules, Ten Online Resources, and Ten Professional Development Projects. In the Web Extra we list our favorite Top Ten New Features in SPSS Statistics Version 23.