How to Report Correlation in SPSS

by Linda Foley
SPSS provides correlations.

SPSS provides correlations.

Correlational studies are conducted when a researcher is interested in the relationship between two or more variables that can be measured but not controlled -- for example the age of a child and the child's score on an intelligence test. SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) helps social science researchers analyze these type of data. When SPSS calculates the correlation between variables, it indicates the level of significance for the correlation.

Setting up Data

Go to the datasheet in SPSS. Double click on "var0001" and when the dialog box pops up, enter the name of your first variable, for example "age," and hit "OK." Do the same thing for "var0002" and enter the name of your second variable, for example "score."

Under your first variable, for example "age," enter your first number in the data column. After you enter a number, click on "Enter." Go down the column and enter all your data.

Go to your next variable, for example "score," and enter your first number in the data column. After you enter a number, click on "Enter." Go down the column and enter all your data.

Save your file. Go to "File" at the top left of the page, select "SaveAS" from the drop-down choices and enter a file name of your choice. Save file as SPPS(*sav).

Correlations

Click on Statistics at the top of the SPSS page. When the drop-down box appears, click on "Correlate."

When the next drop-down box appears, click on "Bivariate."

When the dialog box appears, select your variables, for example "age" and "score," and click on them to move them to the Variables list. Click on "OK."

Read the results in the output window. The results will give you the Pearson Correlation between your two variables (age and score), the significance level (generally < .05 is considered significant) and the number of cases in each variable.

Determine the significance level. There will be ** after the correlation (for example .67**) to indicate that it is significant. At the bottom of the box, you can read the significance level, for example, "** correlation is significant at the .05 level."

Tip

  • check Save your data frequently.

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About the Author

Linda Foley has been writing about psychology and the justice system since 1974. Her articles have been published in the "Journal of Forensic Psychology," "Trial Lawyer" and the "Journal of Social Behavior and Personality." Foley holds a Doctor of Philosophy in social psychology from the University of Florida.

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