"An essential guide to SPSS."In reviewing this book I had some initial reservations, mainly due to the fact that students in our university tend to use online tutorials when learning to use SPSS. I now believe, however, that this should be an essential text for both undergraduate and postgraduate students in Health and Social Care. It is well written, using humour judiciously. The use of SPSS is clearly outlined through the use of relevant examples and as the title says: takes the reader through the processes in a step by step way. I particularly like the way that underpinning theoretical concepts are outlined and discussed. The approach is always pragmatic and engenders confidence in the use of data analysis. Indeed, this book acts as a very good introduction to quantitative research generally and reflects the authors good understanding and experience in the area. I enjoyed reading this book and will happily recommend it to others."
Dr Jerry Warr, reader in Practice Development, School of Health and Social Care, Bournemouth University
"I wish I had had this book 20 years ago as it would have saved me from many headaches. Cole Davis's engaging style and clarity of expression make the whole business of exploring SPSS almost a pleasure. The sequence and the explanations are logical and clear and, best of all, Mr Davis is not worried about popping up in person from time to time to take the reader gently by the elbow and guide them reassuringly in the right direction. This feature alone sets the book apart from drier texts on the subject which, to my mind at least, tend to batter the reader into submission. The talking points at the end of each chapter helpfully consolidate and crystallise the key points. Another engaging feature of the book are the occasional sections discussing more specialised aspects of statistics (such as "Statistical theory - look away now") which offer the reader the option of going deeper into some aspect of the background or ignoring it guiltlessly."Highly recommended!"
Nick Warren, educational researcher
"First I have to say that statistics is definitely not my forte. The last time I studied statistics and used SPSS was many years ago as a companion to a social science research course for my masters. I just about muddled through it! It was a pity I didn't have Cole Davis's book SPSS step by step: Essentials for social and political science. This is a handbook of sorts in the author's own words, `designed to offer the reader a quick and easy introduction to the analysis of data.' It succeeds in this goal quite admirably. The book has a very easy reading style that is very accessible to the layperson. Having said that it does assume some academic understanding of basic statistics and research; given that its audience is meant to be anything from the research student to non-mathematicians in various professions who need to analyse data for research, I consider that an acceptable starting point."It is divided into three parts. Part 1 deals with background knowledge of statistical research, part 2 gets down to the use of SPSS in research and data, and part 3 offers some exercises, concepts and tests. Overall it seems a good overview and guide to get you going in data research with SPSS. "Although I am not skilled in statistics or SPSS, I am a very experienced teacher up to and including degree level so I feel well qualified to review the book as a text for learning purposes. On that level I can give it a high 5 stars! As I said it is well written with an easy accessible style, well set out in three clear parts. It uses a number of good teaching methods in text books such as bold highlighting of terminology and concepts to be defined. Each chapter has a clear path from introducing the topic with definitions, discussion of it as a research concept and its role and finally offering a summary box at the end followed by `a talking point.' "Once SPSS is introduced and applied to the research concepts, the author uses screen shots and examples. I do have some suggestions gleaned from my experience with text books that would improve the ease of learning. The first is a glossary at the start as a reference to the terminology - I feel this is essential. Given the density of material I also think a text box with definitions used on each page would be extremely helpful, especially for beginners or those of us who start to see Greek after a while. Also, although screen shots are used, I feel they should be placed in between the text with the use of arrows and highlighting. After a while I just started to get a tad confused without that to lead me and keep me on track. I have seen these and used them in other software manuals and they are invaluable. Perhaps in the next edition Mr Davis? Regardless, Cole Davis still manages to present a confusing and daunting subject in a clear, coherent and concise volume. I was very daunted but happily surprised at how accessible the author made the subject matter. No mean feat!
Helen Karol, teacher
"A Very Informative and Helpful Guide Book on Statistics and SPSS.
"Statistics really are fascinating when you think about it. They can be upsetting, comforting, or they could just provide you with general insight on a particular topic. How many statistics have you read that have left you absolutely stunned? Of course there are practical reasons behind using statistics in all different fields. This is a great guide book to help you with statistics and the SPSS software.
"Here is the basis I used to rate the book:
Danielle Tara Evans, writer
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"I read SPSS step by step - Essentials for social and political science as a beginner on the subject. The book is divided into three parts with part one devoted to familiarising the reader with the basics for a sound understanding of statistical testing, which is dealt with practically in the second part of the book. Part three contains some exercises for practice with answers and some valuable suggestions about how to report data both verbally and in writing.
"Throughout the book information is presented in plain easy to follow English avoiding technical terms as far as possible. With the use of simple English the author has done an excellent job of presenting some complicated concepts in a clear manner. In order to make the input process easy to follow, the book provides several screenshot images and clear instructions which for beginners like me are extremely useful. In short I would say that the book lives up to its claim to be a highly practical guide designed to offer a quick and easy introduction to the analysis of data."
"In one word, I am impressed by this book. Having read other books and tutorials on SPSS, I thought I would never go back to using the software. This book offers a quick, down to earth, explanation of everything you could possibly want to achieve using SPSS. It's as if the author understands my concerns as I read the book. In general, topics are covered in a high level view with a clear explanation, examples, and references in case you need to dig in further. Instead of wasting time with endless data samples, the author prepares the user for realistic SPSS data input, covering all aspects of data classifications, reports, shortcuts, and analysis. In the past I found myself running various SPSS outputs and hoping that one would make sense. This book guides you through the decision process of which data to collect, input, and the proper tools to analyze it. Although the core of the book is based on statistics, the author relates stats and SPSS terms to everyday concepts so that the reader is not left in the dark. I particularly like how chapters have a special section designated to statistics theory and a talking point. It is left up to the reader whether to understand just the concept or also the theory behind the methods discussed. Each chapter has a "Talking Point" which brings everything back to real life and helped me learn best practices when dealing with data. The author even discusses various ways of reporting the results while presenting or in a written format. All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book and wish I was introduced to SPSS with it instead of the other books I used. This book is not a textbook in the traditional sense. In my opinion it is a perfect express guide to SPSS and I would recommend it to anyone who is seeing SPSS for the first time or has been unable to understand its full potential using other learning resources. "
"Very clear and comprehensive. This is a very clear, logically structured and comprehensive guide to statistical testing using SPSS. The book gives examples from business and management as well as social and political sciences. It is a lot shorter than its main competitors, so it is good for people in a hurry. Seriously recommended."
graduate of economics, including quantitative methods
"SPSS step by step: Essentials for social and political science is the perfect introduction to statistics for a non-math major. It does an excellent job of providing a high level overview of statistical methods without burdening the reader with all of the formulas. It is perfect for fields like social and political science and market research where a working knowledge and simple software interface are needed. Mr.Davis even provides an overview of qualitative research. It is easy to read and a must for students or professionals who need a quick overview of statistics. I recommend it."
"I must admit I kept passing over this in my TBR pile. The subject kind of intimidated me. I mean, gasp, math. I shudder at the thought. Well my conscience got the better of me so I picked it up determined to give it a go. To my surprise and relief it was not what I thought it would be. The dreaded formulas are not there and even a person like me that avoids things like this was able to grasp the subject matter. While it is not something I would settle down before the fire with and devour like most books it is worth a look. My daughter home schools and plans to use it and my husband who is an engineer thinks it is a good book for an intro into this difficult subject. I for one do agree with him."
"SPSS is widely and highly regarded by social scientists but coming to grips with its application for data interpretation and analysis is often difficult and can be daunting. There are manuals, of course, but they often assume a given level of prior-knowledge and confidence in the use of the software that many potential users, including myself, do not have and cannot easily or freely access technical support.
"Cole Davis’s new book is practical, well written and very reader friendly, especially by those who are not or would not describe themselves as mathematicians or skilled in the science of numbers. For those wanting to use SPSS, this book clearly explains what the software can do and how to achieve its potential. I particularly liked the way the book does not assume (as so many manuals do) that we are all familiar with statistical terms. It explains what they mean and offers practical examples of how they are used.
"The book gradually builds up the reader’s expertise and confidence in data analysis and the uses of SPSS. Each chapter ends with a ‘talking point’ that is designed to get us thinking about how statistics are used or misused.
"Part one offers the reader a sound introduction to descriptive and inferential statistics and to data analysis in practice. This introduction is invaluable, even if you are not intending to use SPSS. Part two takes us through statistical testing. Throughout there is good use of images to show the reader how SPSS looks on the PC screen in every procedure, accompanied by clear suggestions or instructions on how to proceed. The complexity gradually builds up, but the ‘step by step’ approach, logically ordered, and good use of practical examples means that the reader is not suddenly overwhelmed but gaining in understanding and confidence.
"As a freelance researcher engaged in many areas of social investigation, I would strongly recommend this book both as a practical and easy to understand guide to the use of SPSS but also for its valuable introduction to data analysis and statistics."
"SPSS Step by Step provides a practical guide to the use of SPSS for data analysis which will be of interest to students and those less familiar with social research. It takes the reader through the analytic process, explaining the SPSS input choices and output obtained. Unusually it has a strong focus on non-parametric tests and also covers more advanced techniques, including survival analysis, so may be a useful supplement to other text books."
"As someone who took 16 years after my undergraduate degree before starting a MSc, it was a more than a slight challenge to try and recall how to use SPSS, or deal with the changes in versions since last using it. This book is very clearly written with plenty of good examples to quickly help a student bridge the gap between theory and practice. It is considerably easier to use than many other books discussing SPSS, or the online tutorials; it helps make sense of some of those and complements them well. It's a good beginners or returners guide, or a means of sense-checking that appropriate tests are being used, and conclusions drawn."
"My daughter in her 1st Year Psychology degree found this helpful to get her started."