Tips on Data Entry, Data Management and Data Analysis
1) Data entry
a) Reason to think hard before you enter data: You don’t want to re-enter all data.
b) What to do: Come see us, or do the following…
i) Label each survey (e.g., 1, 2, 3,…)
ii) Excel or SPSS is fine. Create an ‘id’ variable in dataset. (Lets you easily fix
mistakes). To do this in SPSS, click on Variable view, under name type ‘id’, change
Decimals to 0.
iii) Create the rest of your variables. For tips, read the section below: ‘SPSS Variable
iv) Create a ‘comments’ variable in dataset (Lets you make notes for easy reference.) To
do this in SPSS, click on Variable view, under name type ‘comments’, click on type
and change to ‘String’ and ‘Characters’ to a big number (e.g., 200).
v) Decide what to do with missing data. Common choices are to leave a blank or enter
‘99’ or ‘9’ (don’t use ‘9’ for variables where ‘9’ is an appropriate response, e.g., age)
vi) Enter raw data. (Don’t add up responses, and then only enter a sum score.)
vii) Save frequently in 1 place. Save occasionally in 2 places.
viii) While entering data, frequently scan to see if you see any entries that are clearly
wrong (e.g., out of range.) Fix errors.
ix) When you’ve entered all the data (and have defined missing values… see below),
check that there are no numbers outside range of allowable values (mistakes). One
way to do this is Analyze, Descriptive Statistics, Descriptives… OK and then
compare the min and max values in the data set with the allowable min and max
values. (Another way is Analyze, Descriptive Statistics, Frequencies.). This will tell
you which variable has a mistake. Scan through the column of that variable to find the
mistake. Look at the matching ID number, and find the hard copy. Enter the correct
SPSS Variable View Overview
-At the bottom of SPSS are two tabs (Data View, Variable View). Click on ‘Variable View’
when you want to define variables and click on ‘Data View’ when you want to e