Making sense of survey data: Laying the Foundation for Data Analysis

making sense of survey data

Making Sense of Survey Data

Care to get some tips on how to look at your survey data?  I’ve been an analyst for nearly 20 years now and was featured in a joint webinar with SurveyGizmo (my favorite survey tool) .

The webinar will be covered the basics of reporting of data, types of variables (Nominal/Categorical, Ordinal, Interval and Scale/Ratio) and best practices of how to report on them.  I also reviewed how, by creating binary variables, you can simplify a lot of your reporting.  The webinar is sightly over an hour long.  I showed a few tips for using Excel pivot tables and demonstrated how to replicate graphs quickly & easily.

Making Sense of Survey Data: Laying the Foundation for Data Analysis

Making Sense of Your Survey Data

I’m hoping to have another one getting a bit more specific on using SPSS and cranking-out Excel / PowerPoint slides.  🙂

(Regular Expressions) RegEx to clean text on funky SPSS labels

RegEx to clean text

RegEx to Clean Text

I used to work in Market Research and would spend hours cleaning up labels from surveys I’d programmed in online tools. The below video shows how easy it can be if you understand regular expressions and a little programming.

Regular Expressions can have a steep learning curve however it is really worth it if you continually get data that you need to clean.  You can also check out this post of mine showing how they can be used to automate your metrics.

Regex on funky labels

A handy cheat-sheet is downloadable from here and a wonderful course from Kevin Skoglund available from is available here.  Below is a great intro to the Regular Expressions.

An introduction to regular expressions | overview

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SPSS macro to remove characters from strings

SPSS macro

SPSS macro to remove characters from strings

While SPSS has many strengths, string manipulation is NOT one of them! Don’t get me wrong, you can manipulate strings however the syntax for doing so is very complex.

If you are still using an older version of SPSS, this macro shows how you can easily remove character(s) from a string both anywhere in the string or at a certain location.  Newer versions have a Replace command which can be used to remove unwanted characters.

Video demonstrating SPSS macro to remove characters from strings


Removing charchters from strings in SPSS

Customize SPSS Toolbar buttons to speed-up your work!

Customize SPSS Toolbar buttons to speed-up your work!

Creating customize SPSS toolbar buttons

I don’t know who set up the default toolbars but they clearly don’t work much in the “real world”!

The vast majority of work I do in SPSS is writing syntax however, having a frequency button or a button that empty’s the output screen is a lifesaver!  Unfortunately most people don’t take the time to customize their toolbars.


This shows how easy it is to add – delete buttons from the toolbars.  While the video shows the process on version 13 of SPSS, the same process works on newer versions.

Video demonstrating how to Customize SPSS Toolbar buttons

Creating custom toolbar buttons in SPSS