Obtaining and Analyzing Quantitative Data

  I.  Data set basics.
        A.  The structure of data sets.
              1.  Cases, records, and fields.
	      2.  Fixed-field and free-field data sets.
              3.  Relational data bases.
	B.  Storage media.
              1.  Fixed disks.
              2.  CDs.
	      3.  Floppy disks.
	      4.  Tapes.
              5.  Mainframe and online storage.
        C.  Character sets and data formats.
              1.  Software specific character sets and formats.
              2.  ASCII data sets.
	      3.  Other standardized character sets and formats.
	D.  Archived and compressed data files.

 II.  Creating a new data set.
        A.  Sources of data.
              1.  Questionnaires and interview guides from surveys.
              2.  Questionnaires and tally sheets from experiments.
              3.  Tally sheets from content analysis.
              4.  Existing tables, reports, and forms.
        B.  Defining a data set.
              1.  Identifying and naming variables.
              2.  Assigning numeric codes to the attributes of categorical variables.
              3.  Developing a codebook/data dictionary/data definition document.
              4.  Defining the data in SPSS.
                    a.  Entering variable names.
                    b.  Entering variable types.
                    c.  Entering width and decimal places.
                    d.  Entering variable labels.
                    e.  Entering value labels for numeric codes.
                    f.  Entering codes for missing data.
                    g.  Setting column width and alignment.
                    h.  Entering level of measurement.
                    i.  Saving your data definition.
              5.  Defining data in other types of software.
                    a.  Other statistical packages.
                    b.  Spreadsheets and database packages.
        C.  Entering data.
              1.  Entering data in SPSS.
                    a.  Keying in the data.
                          i.  Direct entry.
                         ii.  Edge coding.
                        iii.  Code sheets.
                    b.  Saving the data set.
              2.  Entering data in other types of software.
                    a.  Other statistical software.
                    b.  Spreadsheet and data base programs.
                    c.  Text editors and word processors.
              3.  Using scan sheets.

 III.  Using existing data sets.
         A.  Sources of existing data.
               1.  Governmental data sets.
                     a.  Census data.
                     b.  Vital statistics.
                     c.  Police data.
                     d.  Economic and employment data.
               2.  Organizational data sets.
		     a.  Service organizations.
		     b.  Businesses and corporations.
               3.  Survey and polling data
                     a.  Scientific research.
                     b.  Polls and opinion studies.
                     c.  NORC and the General Social Survey.
               4.  Data archives.
                     a.  ICPSR
                     b.  Other data archives.
         B.  Requesting and obtaining existing data.
               1.  Requesting data and determining costs.
                     a.  Public data.
                     b.  Private data.
               2.  Receiving the data.
		     a.  Downloading online data.
		     b.  Receiving data on floppy disks, CDs, and tapes.
                     c.  Data formats and character sets.
                     d.  Data compression software.
               3.  Documentation.
		     a.  The codebook or data dictionary.
		     b.  Make sure you receive the following information.
                     	   i.  Information about storage media and storage formats.
                          ii.  Information about character set and data set format.
                         iii.  Full descriptions of all variables in the data set.
                          iv.  Location/order of data for each variable in the data 
                               set.
                           v.  Codes used for each categorical variable in the data 
                               set and their meaning.
         C.  Reading existing data into SPSS.
               1.  Reading an SPSS data file.
               2.  Reading ASCII data.
               3.  Reading data from select spreadsheet, database, and statistical
                   programs.
               4.  Importing data using a database query.