If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

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If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

David Marso
Administrator
I am designing a series of training modules and basically know what I am
going to do and in what order.  
Just checking outside of my bubble to get a reality check from the
community.
Intermediate and more advanced users and *whatever* PLEASE chime in as well.

Additional questions.  
What would you expect from an intermediate course?
What would you expect from an advanced course.
What would you expect from an BLACK BELT course.

For those that have previously taken some sort of training:
Are there things that were taught which have proven to be a complete waste
of time and brain space?
Are there things that were NOT taught which you learned later that you feel
should have been part of the curriculum?

After you all respond and I digest I will return with some additional
queries.
Thank you for your guidance.

Instructors:
Are there topics which you have attempted to teach which resulted in a
pervasive "deer in headlights response"?



-----
Please reply to the list and not to my personal email.
Those desiring my consulting or training services please feel free to email me.
---
"Nolite dare sanctum canibus neque mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos ne forte conculcent eas pedibus suis."
Cum es damnatorum possederunt porcos iens ut salire off sanguinum cliff in abyssum?"
--
Sent from: http://spssx-discussion.1045642.n5.nabble.com/

=====================
To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to
[hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the
command. To leave the list, send the command
SIGNOFF SPSSX-L
For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command
INFO REFCARD
Please reply to the list and not to my personal email.
Those desiring my consulting or training services please feel free to email me.
---
"Nolite dare sanctum canibus neque mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos ne forte conculcent eas pedibus suis."
Cum es damnatorum possederunt porcos iens ut salire off sanguinum cliff in abyssum?"
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Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

Ives, Melissa L
Hi David,
The best advice for new syntax users (IMHO) is how to learn syntax using the dialog boxes and PASTE instead of OK.
I suspect you already knew that, but one key point is looking at/learning what changed in the syntax by comparing the results of 2 or more pasted syntax after changing dialog entries.

I think a module about commands that modify the setting (yes, SET, but also commands like CD, and Edit-Options to make better use of the Variable list* icon, etc.) would be a bonus.

Melissa
*When SPSS broke this in V15, the person we called at SPSS did not even know it existed.

-----Original Message-----
From: SPSSX(r) Discussion [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of David Marso
Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2019 10:10 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [SPSSX-L] If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

I am designing a series of training modules and basically know what I am
going to do and in what order.
Just checking outside of my bubble to get a reality check from the
community.
Intermediate and more advanced users and *whatever* PLEASE chime in as well.

Additional questions.
What would you expect from an intermediate course?
What would you expect from an advanced course.
What would you expect from an BLACK BELT course.

For those that have previously taken some sort of training:
Are there things that were taught which have proven to be a complete waste
of time and brain space?
Are there things that were NOT taught which you learned later that you feel
should have been part of the curriculum?

After you all respond and I digest I will return with some additional
queries.
Thank you for your guidance.

Instructors:
Are there topics which you have attempted to teach which resulted in a
pervasive "deer in headlights response"?



-----
Please reply to the list and not to my personal email.
Those desiring my consulting or training services please feel free to email me.
---
"Nolite dare sanctum canibus neque mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos ne forte conculcent eas pedibus suis."
Cum es damnatorum possederunt porcos iens ut salire off sanguinum cliff in abyssum?"
--
Sent from: http://spssx-discussion.1045642.n5.nabble.com/

=====================
To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to
[hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the
command. To leave the list, send the command
SIGNOFF SPSSX-L
For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command
INFO REFCARD

________________________________

This correspondence contains proprietary information some or all of which may be legally privileged; it is for the intended recipient only. If you are not the intended recipient you must not use, disclose, distribute, copy, print, or rely on this correspondence and completely dispose of the correspondence immediately. Please notify the sender if you have received this email in error. NOTE: Messages to or from the State of Connecticut domain may be subject to the Freedom of Information statutes and regulations.

=====================
To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to
[hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the
command. To leave the list, send the command
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For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command
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Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

Jon Peck
In reply to this post by David Marso
I assume that you are thinking about training for SPSS-related topics.

The most important consideration for any course is the expectation about prerequisite knowledge.  There are two dimensions that matter.  The first is prior experience with some programming language - almost any will do.  The second is prior knowledge of basic statistics.  Course design is greatly affected by whether and how courses need to cover these areas.

I have seen courses suggested for people who already know some programming that waste a lot of time on things like what's a loop.  And I have seen IT types assigned to do data management who have no idea about statistics (or Statistics) flounder because they don't understand the data requirements of statistical procedures or what to do with the output.

Also, in any course, it is important to address the "meta" issues such as reproducibility, clarity and simplicity of code, robustness, modularity, automation and generalization, and documentation along with the how-to nuts and bolts.



On Thu, Mar 28, 2019 at 8:08 AM David Marso <[hidden email]> wrote:
I am designing a series of training modules and basically know what I am
going to do and in what order. 
Just checking outside of my bubble to get a reality check from the
community.
Intermediate and more advanced users and *whatever* PLEASE chime in as well.

Additional questions. 
What would you expect from an intermediate course?
What would you expect from an advanced course.
What would you expect from an BLACK BELT course.

For those that have previously taken some sort of training:
Are there things that were taught which have proven to be a complete waste
of time and brain space?
Are there things that were NOT taught which you learned later that you feel
should have been part of the curriculum?

After you all respond and I digest I will return with some additional
queries.
Thank you for your guidance.





Instructors:
Are there topics which you have attempted to teach which resulted in a
pervasive "deer in headlights response"?



-----
Please reply to the list and not to my personal email.
Those desiring my consulting or training services please feel free to email me.
---
"Nolite dare sanctum canibus neque mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos ne forte conculcent eas pedibus suis."
Cum es damnatorum possederunt porcos iens ut salire off sanguinum cliff in abyssum?"
--
Sent from: http://spssx-discussion.1045642.n5.nabble.com/

=====================
To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to
[hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the
command. To leave the list, send the command
SIGNOFF SPSSX-L
For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command
INFO REFCARD


--
Jon K Peck
[hidden email]

===================== To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to [hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the command. To leave the list, send the command SIGNOFF SPSSX-L For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command INFO REFCARD
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Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

John F Hall
In reply to this post by Ives, Melissa L

I never used the GUI in my teaching (it didn't exist in those days).  I used SPSS on a range of machines (ICL 2900, CDC 2000, ICL 1900, DEC-10, Vax cluster) some of which entailed using machine specific Job Control Language (JCL) and editing language (EDT) and, for the Vax, Vax Management System (VMS).  This was enough to put off any student, but my IT/Stats wizard Jim Ring wrote a brilliant front end which enabled students to avoid all except the most complicated non-SPSS bits.

 

I always used syntax (written by students to coding sheets and punched on actual 80-column Hollerith cards by data-prep staff on another campus).  Topics were followed in a practical sequence starting with examples of raw data, definition of variables, capture from raw (sometimes alphanumeric) data stored as 80-column card images.

 

RUN NAME      

FILE NAME     

VARIABLE LIST     VARxxxx TO VARyyyy       

INPUT MEDIUM        

INPUT FORMAT   FIXED       

NO. OF CASES   213

VARIABLE LABELS

VALUE LABELS,

MISSING VALUES

RECODE                     (CONVERT)

READ INPUT DATA  

SAVE FILE        

FINISH

 

The course covered basic data checks,  basic descriptive and (later) some inferential statistics

 

FREQUENCIES

CROSSTABS

OPTIONS

STATISTICS

BREAKDOWN (always caused a laugh in class).

T-TEST

REGRESSION

 

Later releases allowed variable names like q1 to q20, mixed case labels etc.

 

When the interactive version of SPSS was installed, provision of a new computer lab, four fast servers and two small line-printers meant there was no longer a need for courier services between campuses (one week delay between classes).  Student feedback was immediate and the effect on motivation and progress was electric.

 

Whilst waiting for course registration, students were invited to complete a short questionnaire, used in week 2 to create a data transfer sheet before typing the data into a computer file, later read into SPSS.  For many students this was a revelation and gave them a lasting insight into the nature of survey data.   The course used raw data from a real survey (British Social Attitudes 1989, 24 80-column records per case) and examples were chosen from questions likely to be of interest to students (political party support, abortion, authoritarianism, welfare state etc.)

 

The only "deer in headlights" moment came in the very first session of the course.  I drew a blank table (in chalk, yes chalk) to represent questions and answers in a survey, with SEX, VOTE etc across the top, numbers 1 to 5 down the side and filled the cells with answers such as "YES" "No", "Male" "Female" etc.  I then substituted numeric values for all the cells and asked the class if they noticed any differences in the way the numbers were used.  It took a while, but they eventually tumbled to the answer and thus discovered Levels of Measurement.  They were then told about VARIABLES, CASES and VALUES and that what we had just produced was a Data Matrix.  Students then went into the computer lab where they copied a short SPSS *.sps file to their disk area, ran it and collected the output for discussion in class, followed by a glass or three of Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

The best book I ever used for teaching was Marija Norusis The SPSS Guide to Data Analysis (various editions, 1987 - 1991) which I bought in bulk from SPSS Inc (UK) and resold at cost to students.  These books are still among the best for using SPSS syntax and for following the natural progression and logic of processing and analysing data from questionnaire surveys.  Second-hand copies are like gold-dust.  Check eBay and Amazon for rare second-hand copies.  Her SPSS Statistics Guides are totally different and use mainly the drop-down menus.

 

Since retirement I have converted, updated and greatly expanded my original teaching materials for use with SPSS for Windows (releases 15 to 24).  These materials form the basis of the exercises, examples and tutorials in my course Survey Analysis Workshop.  It uses syntax in preference to the GUI, but some examples and exercises use both.

 

Note also that my course was designed to teach data skills and data analysis in the context of substantive research questions: SPSS was to some extent incidental, but it was what I had available at the time and was used extensively in academic, government and public sector research.  When students were asked why they had come on the course, one of them succinctly answered, "I've got a Sociology degree from LSE and I want a job!"

 

John F Hall

[Retired academic survey researcher]

IBM-SPSS Academic Author 9900074

 

Email:             [hidden email]

Website:          http://surveyresearch.weebly.com/

SPSS course:   http://surveyresearch.weebly.com/1-survey-analysis-workshop-spss.html

Research:        http://surveyresearch.weebly.com/3-subjective-social-indicators-quality-of-life.html

 

-----Original Message-----
From: SPSSX(r) Discussion <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Ives, Melissa L
Sent: 28 March 2019 15:55
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

 

Hi David,

The best advice for new syntax users (IMHO) is how to learn syntax using the dialog boxes and PASTE instead of OK.

I suspect you already knew that, but one key point is looking at/learning what changed in the syntax by comparing the results of 2 or more pasted syntax after changing dialog entries.

 

I think a module about commands that modify the setting (yes, SET, but also commands like CD, and Edit-Options to make better use of the Variable list* icon, etc.) would be a bonus.

 

Melissa

*When SPSS broke this in V15, the person we called at SPSS did not even know it existed.

 

-----Original Message-----

From: SPSSX(r) Discussion [[hidden email]] On Behalf Of David Marso

Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2019 10:10 AM

To: [hidden email]

Subject: [SPSSX-L] If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

 

I am designing a series of training modules and basically know what I am going to do and in what order.

Just checking outside of my bubble to get a reality check from the community.

Intermediate and more advanced users and *whatever* PLEASE chime in as well.

 

Additional questions.

What would you expect from an intermediate course?

What would you expect from an advanced course.

What would you expect from an BLACK BELT course.

 

For those that have previously taken some sort of training:

Are there things that were taught which have proven to be a complete waste of time and brain space?

Are there things that were NOT taught which you learned later that you feel should have been part of the curriculum?

 

After you all respond and I digest I will return with some additional queries.

Thank you for your guidance.

 

Instructors:

Are there topics which you have attempted to teach which resulted in a pervasive "deer in headlights response"?

 

 

 

-----

Please reply to the list and not to my personal email.

Those desiring my consulting or training services please feel free to email me.

---

"Nolite dare sanctum canibus neque mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos ne forte conculcent eas pedibus suis."

Cum es damnatorum possederunt porcos iens ut salire off sanguinum cliff in abyssum?"

--

Sent from: http://spssx-discussion.1045642.n5.nabble.com/

 

=====================

To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to [hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the command. To leave the list, send the command SIGNOFF SPSSX-L For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command INFO REFCARD

 

________________________________

 

This correspondence contains proprietary information some or all of which may be legally privileged; it is for the intended recipient only. If you are not the intended recipient you must not use, disclose, distribute, copy, print, or rely on this correspondence and completely dispose of the correspondence immediately. Please notify the sender if you have received this email in error. NOTE: Messages to or from the State of Connecticut domain may be subject to the Freedom of Information statutes and regulations.

 

=====================

To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to [hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the command. To leave the list, send the command SIGNOFF SPSSX-L For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command INFO REFCARD

===================== To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to [hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the command. To leave the list, send the command SIGNOFF SPSSX-L For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command INFO REFCARD
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Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

John F Hall
In reply to this post by David Marso

Oops!  I should have written:

"Jim Ring wrote a brilliant front end which enabled students to avoid all except the simplest non-SPSS bits."

 

The VDU display was in green on a black screen.  Students composed their *.sps files line by line using EDT and could edit lines using the up or down keys. 

 

Computer prompt in bold.  [RETURN] is the same as Enter

 


     _$_              NSPSS  <*.sps>

                         

If you have made a mistake, SPSS will send you one or more  error

messages.   _Do  not print_ your results if this happens.   Try  to

catch the first error reported by using the _[F1]_ screen hold key,

then go back into EDT when prompted.

 

                         

_     .... results on screen?   _[RETURN]_      {= Y = Yes (default)}

          (Use the _[F1]_ key to freeze and scroll the display)

 

     _.... make changes now using EDT?  N _[RETURN]_   {default is Y}

 

     _.... printout?   __[RETURN]_               {= Y = Yes (default)}

     _.... Where?_    LH _[RETURN]_              {(default is on A4)}

     _.... delete after printing?  _[RETURN]_   {= Y = Yes (default)}

     _.... started_ .... ( .... or_ pending_ .... )_

 

 

     __$_    Logout         (Don't forget to switch off)


 

John F Hall  MA (Cantab) Dip Ed (Dunelm)

[Retired academic survey researcher]

 

Email:          [hidden email]

Website:     Journeys in Survey Research

Course:       Survey Analysis Workshop (SPSS)

Research:   Subjective Social Indicators (Quality of Life)

 

===================== To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to [hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the command. To leave the list, send the command SIGNOFF SPSSX-L For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command INFO REFCARD
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Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

Robert L
In reply to this post by David Marso
My suggestion would be to put an emphasis on aspects usually not covered more than superficially in most statistics courses (at least the ones I have encountered), but which in practical work tend to take a substantial part of time spent:

*Documentation of variables and labels
*Recoding
*Constructing new variables with built-in functions and logical expressions
*Dealing with dates and times
*Restructuring between long and wide formats
*Graphical display

All of these belong to the category "things that should have been covered". In my previous life as a statistics teacher, these topics were rarely addressed more than briefly, which seems strange today when I am in a more practicing position.

Robert

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Robert Lundqvist
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Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

John F Hall

The tutorials listed on my page https://surveyresearch.weebly.com/summary-guide-to-spss-tutorials.html deal with:

*Documentation of variables and labels

*Recoding

*Constructing new variables with built-in functions and logical expressions

 

. . plus other items such as multiple response

 

The tutorials and exercises are arranged in four main blocks, following the usual research sequence of data capture, data processing and data analysis, with occasional (cynical, wise and experienced) comments thrown in from time to time on problem formulation, research design and survey practice as well as on how SPSS works (or not!). 

 

Most exercises and examples relate to SPSS/PASW 18 or IBM SPSS Statistics 19 -24: a few early ones use SPSS 15, but all SPSS syntax examples should work with earlier releases (eg SPSS 11).  Only the screenshots are different.  There's a pencil and paper exercise for you to complete at the beginning, but after that, all tutorials and exercises use actual data from real (major)  surveys.

 

Catalogue of SPSS tutorials is an Excel file containing a full listing (with hyperlinks) of all tutorial files.[may not be completely up-to-date]

 

There are more than 750 pages of downloadable tutorials arranged in four blocks. 

 

Block  1: From questionnaire to SPSS saved file

(https://surveyresearch.weebly.com/block-1-from-questionnaire-to-spss-saved-file.html)

 

    1.1:   The language of survey analysis

    1.2:   How do data relate to questionnaires?

    1.3:   Reading raw data into SPSS

    1.4:   Completing your data dictionary

    1.5:   Utilities [still in preparation]

 

Block 2:  Analysing one variable

(https://surveyresearch.weebly.com/block-2-analysing-one-variable.html)

    2.1:   Nominal and ordinal variables

    2.2:   Interval scale variables

    2.3:   Data transformations

 

Block 3:  Analysing two variables (and sometimes three)

(https://surveyresearch.weebly.com/block-3-analysing-two-variables-and-sometimes-three.html)

 

    3.1   Contingency tables

    3.2   Three (or more) variables

3.2.1 Elaboration (https://surveyresearch.weebly.com/uploads/2/9/9/8/2998485/elaboration__extract_from_jim_rings_notes_.pdf)

3.2.1.1 Earnings differences – Elaboration

https://surveyresearch.weebly.com/uploads/2/9/9/8/2998485/3.2.1.1__earnings_differences_%E2%80%93_elaboration.pdf

    3.3    Multiple response

    3.4    Comparing means

    3.5:   Conditional transformations

 

Block 4:   Hypothesis testing

(https://surveyresearch.weebly.com/block-4-hypothesis-testing.html)

[Still in preparation: provisional contents listed below:]

 

Chi-square (has one tutorial)

https://surveyresearch.weebly.com/uploads/2/9/9/8/2998485/4.2.1_income_differences__statistical_significance.pdf    

 

This page also has links to some useful resources for statistical concepts

   Two means (t-test)

   Testing differences between three or more means

   Regression and correlation

 

Association, structure and cause

I currently have no tutorials of my own on these topics, but they would include:
     Cluster Analysis
     Discriminant Function Analysis
     Factor Analysis
     Multiple Regression

 

SPSS files and documentation

https://surveyresearch.weebly.com/spss-files-and-documentation-used-for-tutorials-and-exercises.html

You are welcome to download and peruse these at your leisure to get a feel for what SPSS saved files look like inside.  Other surveys will be added directly to this site or via links to other sites.  [NB: New General Data Protection Regulations mean that some data sets are safeguarded and can only be accessed from the UK Data Service (UKDS) by registered users.]

 

As well as statistics notes specially written for the original course, and aimed at anxious and fearful, but keen-to-learn students, many with no previous experience of statistics or computing, there are links to on-line resources suitable for beginners.

 

Statistical concepts and methods

https://surveyresearch.weebly.com/1a-statistical-concepts-and-methods.html

 

Everything on my site is available for free download, so help yourself.

 

John F Hall

[Retired academic survey researcher]

IBM-SPSS Academic Author 9900074

 

Email:             [hidden email]

Website:          http://surveyresearch.weebly.com/

SPSS course:   http://surveyresearch.weebly.com/1-survey-analysis-workshop-spss.html

Research:        http://surveyresearch.weebly.com/3-subjective-social-indicators-quality-of-life.html

 

-----Original Message-----
From: SPSSX(r) Discussion <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Robert Lundqvist
Sent: 29 March 2019 08:14
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

 

My suggestion would be to put an emphasis on aspects usually not covered more than superficially in most statistics courses (at least the ones I have encountered), but which in practical work tend to take a substantial part of time spent:

 

*Documentation of variables and labels

*Recoding

*Constructing new variables with built-in functions and logical expressions *Dealing with dates and times *Restructuring between long and wide formats *Graphical display

 

All of these belong to the category "things that should have been covered". In my previous life as a statistics teacher, these topics were rarely addressed more than briefly, which seems strange today when I am in a more practicing position.

 

Robert

 

=====================

To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to [hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the command. To leave the list, send the command SIGNOFF SPSSX-L For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command INFO REFCARD

 

===================== To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to [hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the command. To leave the list, send the command SIGNOFF SPSSX-L For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command INFO REFCARD
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Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

Kathy Reinig
In reply to this post by David Marso
reading/using the syntax manual.

when I train someone, I have them store a copy of the syntax manual .pdf locally
I’ve been writing syntax for over 20 years and still refer to the manual regularly to check for new options or verify syntax for something I do rarely.

Kathy Reinig
KJ Reinig Associates
quantitative research analysts

+1 978 544 2194  direct



On Mar 28, 2019, at 10:08 AM, David Marso <[hidden email]> wrote:

I am designing a series of training modules and basically know what I am
going to do and in what order.  
Just checking outside of my bubble to get a reality check from the
community.
Intermediate and more advanced users and *whatever* PLEASE chime in as well.

Additional questions.  
What would you expect from an intermediate course?
What would you expect from an advanced course.
What would you expect from an BLACK BELT course.

For those that have previously taken some sort of training:
Are there things that were taught which have proven to be a complete waste
of time and brain space?
Are there things that were NOT taught which you learned later that you feel
should have been part of the curriculum?

After you all respond and I digest I will return with some additional
queries.
Thank you for your guidance.





Instructors:
Are there topics which you have attempted to teach which resulted in a
pervasive "deer in headlights response"?



-----
Please reply to the list and not to my personal email.
Those desiring my consulting or training services please feel free to email me.
---
"Nolite dare sanctum canibus neque mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos ne forte conculcent eas pedibus suis."
Cum es damnatorum possederunt porcos iens ut salire off sanguinum cliff in abyssum?"
--
Sent from: http://spssx-discussion.1045642.n5.nabble.com/

=====================
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[hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the
command. To leave the list, send the command
SIGNOFF SPSSX-L
For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command
INFO REFCARD

===================== To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to [hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the command. To leave the list, send the command SIGNOFF SPSSX-L For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command INFO REFCARD
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Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

Bruce Weaver
Administrator
In reply to this post by Robert L
Good list, Robert.  I'd include other basic data management tasks such as
match and stack merging, aggregation, etc.  Unfortunately, statistics
courses (even more advanced ones) usually don't cover these tasks well (if
at all).  Students are often provided pristine data sets that are ready for
analysis.  This does not prepare students for dealing with real world messy
data sets.  

A couple more that come to mind:
* The importance of properly commenting (but not over-commenting) the code.
* Using vertical alignment to make code more readable.

I can't immediately find a nice SPSS example related to that last point, but
here's one using Stata code:

 
https://michaelshill.net/2015/07/31/in-stata-coding-style-is-the-essential/

Scroll down to "Use spacing and indentation well".  (And no, I don't always
take the time to align things so nicely, but I probably should!)  



Robert L wrote

> My suggestion would be to put an emphasis on aspects usually not covered
> more than superficially in most statistics courses (at least the ones I
> have encountered), but which in practical work tend to take a substantial
> part of time spent:
>
> *Documentation of variables and labels
> *Recoding
> *Constructing new variables with built-in functions and logical
> expressions
> *Dealing with dates and times
> *Restructuring between long and wide formats
> *Graphical display
>
> All of these belong to the category "things that should have been
> covered". In my previous life as a statistics teacher, these topics were
> rarely addressed more than briefly, which seems strange today when I am in
> a more practicing position.
>
> Robert
>
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Bruce Weaver
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Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

Bruce Weaver
Administrator
Here are two comments on readability of code.  ;-)  

Comment #1
Source:
https://the-eye.eu/public/Books/IT%20Various/the_art_of_readable_code.pdf

--- start or excerpt ---

After studying many code examples like this, we came to the conclusion that
there is one metric for readability that is more important than any other.
It’s so important that we call it "The Fundamental Theorem of Readability."

K E Y   I D E A
Code should be written to minimize the time it would take for someone else
to understand it.

--- end of excerpt ---


Comment #2
Source:  https://blog.codinghorror.com/coding-for-violent-psychopaths/

"Always code as if the person who ends up maintaining your code is a violent
psychopath who knows where you live."






-----
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Bruce Weaver
[hidden email]
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"When all else fails, RTFM."

NOTE: My Hotmail account is not monitored regularly.
To send me an e-mail, please use the address shown above.

--
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Bruce Weaver
bweaver@lakeheadu.ca
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"When all else fails, RTFM."

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Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

Kirill Orlov
I hope SPSS will NEVER come to force spaces, identation etc in the Syntax Editor or at least will leave an option to ignore such "suggestions". Everybody has their own style of coding.


29.03.2019 16:50, Bruce Weaver пишет:
Here are two comments on readability of code.  ;-)  

Comment #1
Source: 
https://the-eye.eu/public/Books/IT%20Various/the_art_of_readable_code.pdf

--- start or excerpt ---

After studying many code examples like this, we came to the conclusion that
there is one metric for readability that is more important than any other.
It’s so important that we call it "The Fundamental Theorem of Readability."

K E Y   I D E A
Code should be written to minimize the time it would take for someone else
to understand it.

--- end of excerpt ---


Comment #2
Source:  https://blog.codinghorror.com/coding-for-violent-psychopaths/

"Always code as if the person who ends up maintaining your code is a violent
psychopath who knows where you live."






-----
--
Bruce Weaver
[hidden email]
http://sites.google.com/a/lakeheadu.ca/bweaver/

"When all else fails, RTFM."

NOTE: My Hotmail account is not monitored regularly.
To send me an e-mail, please use the address shown above.

--
Sent from: http://spssx-discussion.1045642.n5.nabble.com/

=====================
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===================== To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to [hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the command. To leave the list, send the command SIGNOFF SPSSX-L For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command INFO REFCARD
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Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

Rich Ulrich
DEBUGGING

One measure of expertise, beyond "what you  can do", is
"how fast you can find the error" and get back to work.
(And the more features you use, the more errors are available
to hang you up.)

There was mention of a front-end that helped newbies, but
everyone should know that the first rule is UNDERSTAND THE
FIRST ERROR MESSAGE. Often, it tells you what is wrong AND
what to do - if you know the meaning of "undefined variable"
or "variable is the wrong type."  There's some necessary
vocabulary, here.  And there is long-lasting confusion between
string, date, and numeric, I think, for anyone who has only
programmed in stat-packages (as opposed to C, Fortran, etc.).

Related to this, for the person who is getting to "real" jobs....
Code that is too bulky is "bad" code: hard to read and hard to
maintain.  Before using Vector/Loop and DO REPEAT,
the multiple uses of ANY( )   are great for shortening selections,
and the occasional RECODE  /INTO  is invaluable.

--
Rich Ulrich

===================== To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to [hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the command. To leave the list, send the command SIGNOFF SPSSX-L For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command INFO REFCARD
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Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

John F Hall

Too true, but error messages are sometimes displayed for something other than the apparent (first) error.

Common ones are missing periods, single or double quotes (usually shown up as the command remains red) and/or slashes.  Others are mis-spelled variable names.

 

David Muxworthy, who, with the late Marjorie Barritt,  first installed SPSS at Edinburgh in 1969, would disagree: when challenged, he claimed GUI does not make syntax errors, but that way, who learns anything?

 

John F Hall  MA (Cantab) Dip Ed (Dunelm)

[Retired academic survey researcher]

 

Email:          [hidden email]

Website:     Journeys in Survey Research

Course:       Survey Analysis Workshop (SPSS)

Research:   Subjective Social Indicators (Quality of Life)

 

From: SPSSX(r) Discussion <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Rich Ulrich
Sent: 29 March 2019 18:45
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

 

DEBUGGING

 

One measure of expertise, beyond "what you  can do", is

"how fast you can find the error" and get back to work.

(And the more features you use, the more errors are available

to hang you up.)

 

There was mention of a front-end that helped newbies, but

everyone should know that the first rule is UNDERSTAND THE

FIRST ERROR MESSAGE. Often, it tells you what is wrong AND

what to do - if you know the meaning of "undefined variable"

or "variable is the wrong type."  There's some necessary

vocabulary, here.  And there is long-lasting confusion between

string, date, and numeric, I think, for anyone who has only

programmed in stat-packages (as opposed to C, Fortran, etc.).

 

Related to this, for the person who is getting to "real" jobs....

Code that is too bulky is "bad" code: hard to read and hard to

maintain.  Before using Vector/Loop and DO REPEAT,

the multiple uses of ANY( )   are great for shortening selections,

and the occasional RECODE  /INTO  is invaluable.

 

--

Rich Ulrich

 

===================== To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to [hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the command. To leave the list, send the command SIGNOFF SPSSX-L For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command INFO REFCARD

===================== To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to [hidden email] (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the command. To leave the list, send the command SIGNOFF SPSSX-L For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command INFO REFCARD
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Re: If you were a new user of syntax, what essential tasks would you want covered if you were to acquire professional training?

David Marso-2
In reply to this post by David Marso
I have always found your code to be the epitomy of readability and easily parsible.Gack....;-)))

 <quote author="Kirill Orlov">
I hope SPSS will NEVER come to force spaces, identation etc in the
Syntax Editor or at least will leave an option to ignore such
"suggestions". Everybody has their own style of coding.


29.03.2019 16:50, Bruce Weaver пишет:

> Here are two comments on readability of code.  ;-)
>
> Comment #1
> Source:
> https://the-eye.eu/public/Books/IT%20Various/the_art_of_readable_code.pdf
>
> --- start or excerpt ---
>
> After studying many code examples like this, we came to the conclusion that
> there is one metric for readability that is more important than any other.
> It’s so important that we call it "The Fundamental Theorem of Readability."
>
> K E Y   I D E A
> Code should be written to minimize the time it would take for someone else
> to understand it.
>
> --- end of excerpt ---
>
>
> Comment #2
> Source:  https://blog.codinghorror.com/coding-for-violent-psychopaths/
>
> "Always code as if the person who ends up maintaining your code is a violent
> psychopath who knows where you live."
>
>
>
>
>
>
> -----
> --
> Bruce Weaver
> <email>bweaver@</email>
> http://sites.google.com/a/lakeheadu.ca/bweaver/
>
> "When all else fails, RTFM."
>
> NOTE: My Hotmail account is not monitored regularly.
> To send me an e-mail, please use the address shown above.
>
> --
> Sent from: http://spssx-discussion.1045642.n5.nabble.com/
>
> =====================
> To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to
> <email>LISTSERV@.UGA</email> (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the
> command. To leave the list, send the command
> SIGNOFF SPSSX-L
> For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command
> INFO REFCARD
>



=====================
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</quote>

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