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Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research

Practical Skills for Data Analysts

Dates: 18 October 2018 and 11 March 2019
Time: 10am - 4.30pm
Instructor: Sarah King-Hele
Level: Introductory
Fee: £195 (£140 for those from educational, government and charitable institutions). 

We offer up to 5 subsidised places at a reduced rate of £60 per course to research staff and students within Humanities at the University of Manchester. These places are awarded in order of application. In some instances, such as for unfunded PhD students, we may be able to offer free or bursary places.

Please note: this is not guaranteed and is considered on a case by case basis. Please contact us for more information.


This course will show participants how to use statistical analysis software, in this instance SPSS. In the course, participants will be introduced to the SPSS environment as well as useful key concepts (such as cases, variables, values, and levels of measurement) to perform basic descriptive data analysis. A key component of the course involves getting familiar with basic SPSS data analysis commands in hands-on sessions. By the end of the day, participants will be familiar with the software; know how to open a data file, enter data, and do basic data manipulations; and be able to produce simple descriptive statistics, one- and two-way tables, as well as simple graphs.

This is a foundation course that does not require any previous experience of SPSS and that will provide participants with the appropriate background to progress to other CMIST courses, particularly Introduction to Data Analysis 1 and Introduction to Data Analysis 2.


On completing the course, participants will have covered the following.

  • How to open and explore data sets.
  • Key procedures for data manipulation including sub-setting and variable recoding.
  • Procedures for producing simple descriptive statistics for all or subsets of your cases.
  • Procedures for producing graphical output.



Recommended reading

Field, A. (2009) Discovering Statistics Using SPSS for Windows. London, SAGE Publications.
Diamond, I. and Jefferies, J. (2004) Beginning Statistics: An Introduction for Social Scientists. London, Sage Publications.
Blaikie, N. (2003) Analyzing Quantitative Data: from description to explanation London, SAGE Publications.

For information about government surveys see the UK Data Service website.

About the instructor