Using SPSS and PASW/Understanding the Output Window

Whenever you run an analysis in SPSS, the results will automatically open in the Output Window.

Often, when the Output Window first opens, SPSS will still be shown to be Processing... your requests. Once the analysis is complete, the Output Window will display the results, e.g.,

The above is an Output Window after descriptive statistics were run on a variable “age”. The window includes menu bar tooling to edit, save, and print results, as well as a left panel with a special hierarchical tree of links to the output in the main panel that allows you quick output navigation. That left panel again:

“Output”, the root of the tree, represents the whole output window. If your SPSS preferences are set as ours were to "include Syntax in the log" (next page), “Log” will be the next item, pointing to your "Using SPSS and PASW/SPSS syntax", i.e. the SPSS language commands that produced your output. The next item, “Frequencies”, indicates that a frequencies analysis was conducted. Included first in that are the "statistics", i.e., the mean, median, and mode of the variable “age”:

Next comes the frequencies table, reporting the absolute number of each age found in our study participants:

Finally, because of the /HISTOGRAM NORMAL portion of our Syntax, a histogram of the variable “age” is given, complete with normal curve:

Thus, the Output Window serves two purposes. It presents the results of your analyses, and keeps a record of everything you've done (if you turn on the syntax; see next page).

Chapter contributed by Kimberly Duggan.