Discovering Statistics Using SPSS 4

Categories: MentorSpace, Quantitative

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This will be brief because, you know, it’s nearly Christmas and for those of us that use this as an excuse to eat too many sweets and drink too much beer and wine, it’s not a time for statistics. However, after Christmas will very much be a time for statistics in the Field household (my wife can’t wait ….) because the other day I opened the bar of chocolate with the golden ticket to statistics hell and back contained within. Yes, that’s right, it’s time to write the fourth edition of the SPSS book. I approach these times in my life with both excitement and dread. Dread because each time I sit in front of my Mac contemplating what to re-write, I am filled with angst that this will be the edition where it all goes horribly wrong. I’m naturally blessed with enormous self belief: self-belief that I can screw things up.

So, I sit anxiously worrying that the latest (in my mind) hilarious penis example that I’ve decided to insert into the book will be the straw that breaks the back of the moral code of Western Academia. Boycotts ensue, conservatism rises up against me and primary schools around the world are filled with children gluing pictures of my face onto placards and painting ‘tool’ across my forehead so that their parents may march against the moral decline that I am clearly trying to set into place through the medium of statistics.

However, amidst the fear and neurosis lies a small bud of excitement, that grows in my stomach as the writing time approaches. Can I make the book better, can I get rid of all of the things that annoy me about it and transform it into the work of perfection that I one day hope it will be? Will, this be the edition where I can finally look at the pages and think ‘sod it, it’ll never get any better, from now on I just change the screen shots and put a new cover on’? Will it? Will it? Well, no it won’t, because I can always find room for improvement, and people will always find useful things to tell me about how to improve it …… and that’s the point of this post. If you have any suggestions for the new edition (and I already have a bulging folder of email with such helpful nuggets) then post them here or email me at and I’ll be really grateful. It’d be most helpful to have these suggestions sooner rather than later although I will be writing until about June.

Also, SAGE are keen to develop the digital side of things and they would love to hear your thoughts on how they can improve the book’s companion website. If you fill in the survey below by Tuesday, January 7th and be entered in a prize drawing for £25 worth of Amazon vouchers. Sadly that’s not enough AMAZON vouchers to buy you the new edition of the SPSS book but …

Now my heavy term has stopped, and my head will be firmly ensconced up my statistical backside for 6 months, I’ll maybe do some posts as the book progresses with interesting (?) tales from my dungeon.

Have a fantastic festive season (whatever the particular festival that you might celebrate) and a great 2012,