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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is anyone on the site familiar with SPSS enough to answer a question about it? I use it for work, but only to copy and paste data into it and then send it to a client. My knowledge of SPSS is only based on following what co-workers have done with it.

I have a specific question. If you'd like to try answering it, let me know and I'll elaborate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My explanation:

As part of my job, I use Access to do data entry of paper surveys. I've had this responsibility for several years. I send our client two files, one in Excel (which I compile by doing a simple export from an Access query) and one in SPSS. For SPSS, I have followed the example of our IT guy, who used to send the data, in setting up the fields in Variable View. That is, I've never been trained in SPSS, nor do I use it for anything else. I arrange the fields the same way as my Access query, then copy and paste the data into the SPSS file (I'm sure a better way exists, but I'm not aware of it).

One of the questions on this survey concerns the number of ours a survey respondent uses a product. All of our SPSS numeric fields are set up to handle just one digit, no decimal places. It isn't that often, but occasionally some people will include half hours when they give an answer (e.g., 6.5 hours). When I paste into SPSS, that number is rounded up automatically. As a result, I've just rounded up the number myself when entering in Access, so that the Excel and SPSS data is the same. However, the client to which we send this data has recently gotten a new parent company, and they are being very finicky about the way we handle the data on our end, almost to the point of suspicion. They want the data they receive to be the exact thing that the phone respondents say.

I'm almost positive I addressed this rounding issue a few years ago with a supervisor, and was told to round, although I'm not sure if it was the supervisor saying this themselves or if they had been in contact with our client and gotten the okay. I'm kind of afraid of bringing it up with our supervisor and, by extension, our client.

So, after all that preamble, my question is whether it would be possible for me to change the data type in SPSS to String for that question, and still have it be processed on our client's end as a number (meaning that I'd be sneaking in the change without telling them). Changing it to String would allow all decimal places I enter in Access to be preserved and not rounded. Does the data type as chosen in the SPSS Variable View affect how it is processed, or will a number in String be recognized as a number even though the type is not set to Numeric? Am I explaining this well enough? Thanks in advance for your response.
 

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SPSS saves the data you enter and not the data it displays. This means that if I enter 6.5 it will look like a 7 but SPSS saves this data as 6.5 and not 7. What you see (6.5 or 7) depends on how the variable view is set.

Excel does the same thing btw. Open a new excel file and type in 6.5, right mouse click on the cell, option 'format cell' (or something like that, I am working with excel in another language). It will give you a bunch of options. One will be how many decimals you want to be displayed. If you click 0 and then press 'ok' your 6.5 will be displayed as a 7. Save the file and then go back in to change how many decimals you want to see. It will convert the 7 back to a 6.5.

How to do this in SPSS:

http://my.ilstu.edu/~mshesso/SPSS/data_entry.html
 

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My explanation:

As part of my job, I use Access to do data entry of paper surveys. I've had this responsibility for several years. I send our client two files, one in Excel (which I compile by doing a simple export from an Access query) and one in SPSS. For SPSS, I have followed the example of our IT guy, who used to send the data, in setting up the fields in Variable View. That is, I've never been trained in SPSS, nor do I use it for anything else. I arrange the fields the same way as my Access query, then copy and paste the data into the SPSS file (I'm sure a better way exists, but I'm not aware of it).

One of the questions on this survey concerns the number of ours a survey respondent uses a product. All of our SPSS numeric fields are set up to handle just one digit, no decimal places. It isn't that often, but occasionally some people will include half hours when they give an answer (e.g., 6.5 hours). When I paste into SPSS, that number is rounded up automatically. As a result, I've just rounded up the number myself when entering in Access, so that the Excel and SPSS data is the same. However, the client to which we send this data has recently gotten a new parent company, and they are being very finicky about the way we handle the data on our end, almost to the point of suspicion. They want the data they receive to be the exact thing that the phone respondents say.

I'm almost positive I addressed this rounding issue a few years ago with a supervisor, and was told to round, although I'm not sure if it was the supervisor saying this themselves or if they had been in contact with our client and gotten the okay. I'm kind of afraid of bringing it up with our supervisor and, by extension, our client.

So, after all that preamble, my question is whether it would be possible for me to change the data type in SPSS to String for that question, and still have it be processed on our client's end as a number (meaning that I'd be sneaking in the change without telling them). Changing it to String would allow all decimal places I enter in Access to be preserved and not rounded. Does the data type as chosen in the SPSS Variable View affect how it is processed, or will a number in String be recognized as a number even though the type is not set to Numeric? Am I explaining this well enough? Thanks in advance for your response.
If you change the variable to 'string' numeric operations cannot be run on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks so much, Lisa. I believe I looked at the case of the data being preserved in SPSS as you type it, even though it rounds, a few years ago (or maybe that was Excel; I don't recall). Just to be clear, though, it will process on my client's end as a ".5", even though it's shown as a whole number in the viewable table, right?

I'll just have to start entering the halves and maybe not tell our client about it. However, I'm concerned about them looking at their results and finding halves for the first time and questioning us about it. Like I said, it's not too common that people give half hours (and it's only that one question that I'm worried about), but this client has been watching us like a hawk recently. They're our biggest and only dedicated client, and if anything I did caused them to pull out, I'd be inconsolable.
 

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SPSS doesn't perform calculations on rounded data. I just checked and excel uses original data, too.

What I did in excel:
4.5
6.5
3.5 all in cells with 0 decimals so each rounded up

14.5 is the result, regardless of whether the decimals are displayed or not

The only way that the result also appears rounded is when the cell in which the result is displayed is itself set to show 0 decimals. In this case it would show 15.

This kind of thing would be relevant if you dealt with decimals like .344 and .683 etc. But even then SPSS would do the calculation with the original data (including the decimals) and then round the final result. It would not perform calculations on rounded data.

Your client sees the data the way you send it to them. The settings for each variable (decimals or not) is saved as part of the file. If they wanted to see the data including the decimals all they would have to do is change the variable settings in that file.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Your client sees the data the way you send it to them. The settings for each variable (decimals or not) is saved as part of the file. If they wanted to see the data including the decimals all they would have to do is change the variable settings in that file.
Right, they'll view the data as it appears in the SPSS file, as a whole, rounded number. But whenever they process the data to get the statistics, it'll go in as a halved number, right? I've never processed any data through SPSS, and so don't know what's involved in that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks very much, Lisa. That helps a lot, although I'm a bit afraid of the client noticing the halves and asking us about it!
 
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