A Guide to Doing Statistical Analysis in Second Language Research Using SPSS

Jenifer Larson-Hall

University of North Texas

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Introduction

I wrote this book for myself. I remember being a graduate student, working on my dissertation and struggling to make sense of the statistics I needed to analyze my dissertation. I wanted a book to help me understand SPSS that would use examples from my field, but none existed. This book was born of that longing. This book is written to help those new to the field of statistics feel they have some idea of what they are doing when they analyze their own data, and how to do it using a statistical program.

I originally wrote this book using two statistical programs side by side—SPSS and a statistical program called R. However, reviewers of the book and the editors felt that trying to include two different statistical packages was unwieldy, and that few people would take the time to learn R because it has a steeper learning curve than SPSS. In that case, the R information would just be an annoyance. Although it is true that it may take extra time to learn R because it does not have the same integrated graphical interface that SPSS does, some advantages of R are:

• It is free.
• It is supported by the statistical community and, as such, continues to be updated with new packages that can do different things all the time.
• R has more sophisticated analyses and is extremely strong in the area of graphics.
• Using command syntax for statistics helps users understand better what they are doing in the statistical analysis.

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