How to learn popular analytics tools on your own – IBM SPSS Statistical software


We wrap up this DIY (Do-It-Yourself) series for learning some popular analytics tools, with the SPSS statistical software.

IBM SPSS Statistics

Learning the SPSS statistical software is no big deal when you have a statistics and computing background.  There are some excellent resources on the web that will help you learn and use SPSS. This offering from the Institute for Digital Learning and Education walks you through starter kits and basic learning modules to advanced usage with technical reports, coding and customization.

At the same time, if you are new to statistics or lacking confidence in mathematics or computing skills, you can still look to several tutorials to help you get started with the SPSS. This is a series of interactive tutorials that will  also brush-up your statistics knowledge required to work with SPSS. The learning unit is presented in seven separate activities that help you understand the SPSS system, define statistical variables, enter basic data and do statistical analysis.

Students already taking classes using the SPSS, need to learn how to manage data and calculate a variety of statistics. Competency in programming language is not always mandatory. However you need to be familiar with the menus and dialogue boxes that navigate you through the basic commands with SPSS Windows. This page shows you how SPSS appears on your Windows screen.  The next section helps you to work with descriptive statistics and graphs, with convenient screen captures of the SPSS dashboard.

If you want to begin with a complete overview on SPSS, you will find this online training workshop useful, with its convenient Quick Time movies.

Students of social science or those working as social scientists can look at this excellent  introductory tutorial for performing quantitative research.


SPSS is a modular product, requiring the Base System module to run. Your license will include the SPSS Base but may or may not have other modules required to carry out specific analyses. So check out the analytic and functional capabilities while purchasing your SPSS product, or during the licensing of your student package.

Top 10 Resources for SPSS

A complete archive of discussion lists

Blog for advance users

Interactive forum for SPSS users

Risk analysis usage of SPSS with Raynald’s tools (SPSS syntax, scripts and utilities)

SPSS users blog

Support for SPSS developer community

Usenet newsgroup (GoogleGroups)

White Papers on SPSS

Your Personal SPSS Video Tutor

YouTube playlist of free SPSS training tutorials

There is a parallel program for statistical analysis of sampled data that is FREE to download and similar to SPSS, the PSPP 0.8.1; with complete online documentation and email newsletter supportFor those who are yet to obtain the proprietary SPSS from IBM, this is a great place to start.


As I wrap-up the series of free resources on analytic softwares, I would recommend beginning with the SPSS and R, if you have a statistical background, or are data-friendly. If you have some programming knowledge base, learning the R and Hadoop is a great starter. Mastering the SAS on your own makes sense when you are want to supplement your formal certification or course at an institute.

Going for a crash course or weekend classes in your neighbourhood gives you both a formal exposure and a hands-on experience with software that may not be available with you. Learning resources on the web can only help add-on to your curriculum with advanced queries, discussion and resources, while formal certifications add to your CV.