How to Interpret SPSS Software for Chi Square Data

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SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) helps social scientists in areas such as psychology, sociology and political science to analyze data they have collected. One useful statistical test is the Chi-Square test, which compares the frequency of events. The Chi-Square test can be conducted on a single sample or on multiple samples. A Chi-Square analysis conducted in SPSS indicates the level of significance for the difference between samples.

Things You'll Need

  • SPSS
  • Frequency data

Chi-Square Analysis

  • Click on "Data" at the top of the SPSS page. Choose "Weight Cases." Put "Count" into the frequency variable box. Click "OK."

  • Click on "Statistics." Choose "Summarize" from the drop-down menu.

  • Click "Crosstabs." Choose "Statistics" in the dialog box.

  • Click the "Chi-square" button from the drop-down menu and move the row variable (for example, gender) into the Row box and the column variable (for example, outcome) into the column box. Click "OK." You will see an output table with the results.

Interpretating SPSS Output

  • Examine the output box, which will have Pearson Chi-Square at the top of the row to the left.

  • Read the second column, top row, which has the value of the Chi-Square. This is the test statistic and will be a number, for example, 32.45.

  • Look at the fourth column top row which has the Sig. (significance) for a 2-sided test. Significance is the most important information from the results; it indicates the probability that the results are due to chance. A significance level of .05 (the most commonly accepted significance level) means there are only five possibilities out of 100 that the results were due to chance. A two-sided test indicates the sample means from both above and below the population mean were compared with the sample mean.

Fisher's Exact Test

  • Go down the first column to "Fisher's Exact Test." Follow the row across until you get to Exact Sig. (2-sided). The Fisher Exact Test is another method of comparing the pairs of values. This significance level should be similar to the Chi-square level. The lower the number, the more significant the outcome.

  • Follow the row across from "Fisher's Exact Test" until you get to Exact Sig. (1-sided). This significance level compares only the means from above the population mean to the sample mean. The lower the number, the more significant the outcome.

  • Look at the bottom of the left column and find "Number of Valid Cases." Go across to the second column and you will find the number of valid cases on which the Chi-Square was calculated.

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