Online Text Books

The following online texts are freely available:

IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 26: A Basic Tutorial

This tutorial is intended for those who want to learn the basics of SPSS (Version 26). For other SPSS resources, see the SSRIC's "Links to Other Instructional Sites".

The book can be used as a text in a class or by those working independently. It was written as a tutorial. Each chapter has instructions that guide you through a series of problems, as well as graphics showing you what your screen should look like at various steps in the process. There are also exercises at the end of chapters 3 through 9 for further practice and more exercises and teaching modules at this same web site. Two datasets accompany the text. Text and datasets are available for free download.

In order to use the software that you will need for this book, you will either have to purchase SPSS or to find a computer laboratory in which SPSS has been installed. Most colleges and universities have labs where you can use SPSS. If you purchase a license for SPSS, we suggest you buy the Graduate Pack.

SPSS for Windows 25: A Basic Tutorial is still available.

PSPP: A Basic Tutorial

PSPP is a statistical analysis program made available at no charge to users by the Free Software Foundation. There are two versions: the “syntax” version and the less comprehensive but more user-friendly GUI (Graphic User Interface) version. This tutorial, written primarily for beginning students, describes the GUI version.

PSPP is similar to SPSS. SPSS (officially IBM SPSS Statistics) has, through many iterations and over many years, served as a widely used standard for analyzing quantitative data. The name “SPSS” originally stood for “Statistical Package for the Social Sciences.” So successful was it, that it was widely adopted in business and other fields outside social science. Eventually it became known simply by its initials (just as many people refer to “IBM” without knowing, or caring, that these initials originally referred to “International Business Machines.”)

Despite its many advantages, one thing that SPSS is not is free. As of this writing, the cost of a base subscription to SPSS starts at $99 per month! This need not trouble you if you are a student at a college or university that has purchased a site license. Even if this is not the case, you can obtain a special version available only to faculty and students at a deep discount. But still not free. (Check or other vendors for details.)

Exercises Using the 2014 General Social Survey: Statistics

There are three versions -- one for use with SPSS, a second for use with PSPP* and a  third for use with SDA (Survey Documentation and Analysis)**.

Intended for instructors teaching an introductory class in statistics.  The exercises were written so each exercise is independent of the others and any one exercise can be used even if the other exercises are not used. There is one exception. Exercises 14, 15, and 16 all focus on regression and are best used as a unit. Because the first 13 exercises are written to stand alone there is often duplication across the exercises. If you use several of the exercises together you may want to edit them to remove this duplication or to add material of your own.

*The creators of PSPP describe it as "a [f]ree replacement for the proprietary program SPSS." It has a look and feel similar to SPSS, and many but not all of its capabilities. For more information on PSPP, visit the PSPP website, or download our handouts,  “Notes on Using PSPP” and “Differences between PSPP and SPSS.”

**The creators of SDA describe it as "a set of programs for the documentation and Web-based analysis of survey data." For more information on SDA, visit the SDA website, or download our handout, "Notes on Using SDA." 

Introduction to Research Methods in Political Science: The POWERMUTT Project

The POWERMUTT Project is a Web site that can serve as a basic on-line textbook for teaching research methods in political science and cognate disciplines. Compared to other texts, it is more interactive and less expensive (free!). It also comes with generous terms of use that allow instructors to use the entire resource or to take and modify portions to meet their specific needs. For example, an instructor might wish to simply use one or more of the datasets and codebooks provided.


Last updated: October 14, 2019.