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5 Using pspp

pspp is a tool for the statistical analysis of sampled data. You can use it to discover patterns in the data, to explain differences in one subset of data in terms of another subset and to find out whether certain beliefs about the data are justified. This chapter does not attempt to introduce the theory behind the statistical analysis, but it shows how such analysis can be performed using pspp.

For the purposes of this tutorial, it is assumed that you are using pspp in its interactive mode from the command line. However, the example commands can also be typed into a file and executed in a post-hoc mode by typing ‘pspp filename’ at a shell prompt, where filename is the name of the file containing the commands. Alternatively, from the graphical interface, you can select File → New → Syntax to open a new syntax window and use the Run menu when a syntax fragment is ready to be executed. Whichever method you choose, the syntax is identical.

When using the interactive method, pspp tells you that it's waiting for your data with a string like PSPP> or data>. In the examples of this chapter, whenever you see text like this, it indicates the prompt displayed by pspp, not something that you should type.

Throughout this chapter reference is made to a number of sample data files. So that you can try the examples for yourself, you should have received these files along with your copy of pspp.1

Please note: Normally these files are installed in the directory /usr/local/share/pspp/examples. If however your system administrator or operating system vendor has chosen to install them in a different location, you will have to adjust the examples accordingly.


[1] These files contain purely fictitious data. They should not be used for research purposes.