# SPSS Statistics For Dummies, 3rd Edition

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## Book Preface

This is fundamentally a reference book. Parts of the book are written as stand-alone tutorials to make it easy for you to get into whatever youâ€™re after. Once youâ€™re up and running with SPSS, you can skip around and read just the sections you need. You really donâ€™t want to read straight through the entire book. That way leads to boredom. We know â€” we went straight through everything to write the book, and believe us, you donâ€™t want to do that.

This book is not about math. Itâ€™s about statistics. You donâ€™t derive anything. You donâ€™t do any math by hand or look up numbers in statistical tables. You wonâ€™t find one explanation of how calculations are performed under the hood. This book is about the things you can do to command SPSS to calculate statistics for you. The inside truth is that you can be as dumb as a post about statistical calculation techniques and still use SPSS to produce some nifty stats!

However, if you decide to study the techniques of statistical calculation, youâ€™ll be able to understand what SPSS does to produce numbers. Your main advantage in understanding the process to that degree of detail is that youâ€™ll be able to choose a calculation method that more closely models the reality youâ€™re trying to analyze â€” if youâ€™re interested in reality, of course.

Throughout the book you find examples that use data stored in files. These files are freely available to you. Most of the files are installed with IBM SPSS Statistics in the SPSS installation directory, which, by default, is Program FilesSPSS (unless you chose another location during installation). A few files were designed for this book and are available on the bookâ€™s companion website (see â€œBeyond the Bookâ€ for more information). In every case, the files were especially designed to demonstrate some specific capability of SPSS.

Within this book, you may note that some web addresses break across two lines of text. If youâ€™re reading this book in print and want to visit one of these web pages, simply key in the web address exactly as itâ€™s noted in the text, pretending as though the line break doesnâ€™t exist. If youâ€™re reading this as an e-book, youâ€™ve got it easy â€” just click the web address to be taken directly to the web page.

Finally, a technical note: The official name of the product is IBM SPSS Statistics. Throughout this book, we refer to it simply as SPSS. Outside of this book, that shortcut can be risky because there are other related products also called SPSS â€” notably, IBM SPSS Modeler, which, though powerful and part of the same brand, is not the subject of this book