Category Archives: SPSS

New data processing tip: dates and times

I told you I was going to work on these data processing tips! Just uploaded a new one on dealing with dates and times, particularly around importing and moving between data analysis software packages. There’s no consensus on how to encode dates and times, and every software maker has done it differently (or in the case of Microsoft, two different ways with another complication depending on the date itself). Understanding what the software is doing helps, but there’s also a belt-and-braces way of making absolutely sure nothing goes wrong.

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Filed under learning, SPSS

Spreadsheet for calculating confidence intervals

I do most of my teaching in SPSS, often through gritted teeth, because of the blind spot in epidemiological analyses. Students are justifiably demoralised when I tell them you can only get an odds ratio and its confidence interval by clicking on the rather obscure “Cochran’s and Mantel-Haenszel statistics” option under “Crosstabs”… and you can’t get a relative risk at all, nor can you just ask for a confidence interval round a proportion. Gee, who needs these boring stats anyway? They won’t help us “increase revenue, outperform competitors, conduct research and make better decisions” [ – accessed 19 September 2012].

OK, that’s enough ranting. Here’s the solution: buy Stata. But in the meantime, until the shiny CD-ROM arrives from College Station, Texas, you can download this little spreadsheet which I hand out to my students. [Link updated 25 October 2013] It gives you an approximate and an exact CI in each case, and also you can look at the Excel formulas to try and work out what’s going on ‘under the hood’.


Filed under learning, SPSS, Stata

SPSS and R day in York

On 2 November there are some introductory health-focussed training sessions on SPSS and R software going on in York:

Two sets of two half-day parallel workshops and two tutorial sessions are provisionally planned to be held at the Alcuin Research Resource Centre, University of York, on Friday 2nd November 2012. The R workshops and a tutorial session on ‘Health Applications in SPSS’ will run in parallel from 10am to (approx) 12-45pm and two SPSS workshops and tutorials on ‘First steps in data analysis using R’, from 1-50pm to (approx) 4-30pm. Each delegate may, therefore, attend a morning workshop or tutorial session and/or an afternoon workshop or tutorial session.

Workshop topics and other details including booking forms are at The workshops and tutorials will be taught in an interactive hands-on workshop-style format, with frequent examples. A full set of notes and example files will be given to all workshop attenders. There will also be handouts at the tutorial sessions.

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Filed under learning, noticeboard, R, SPSS