This book is designed to provide the reader with an introduction to one of the most popular computer programs for data analysis: the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows. This computer software provides a comprehensive set of flexible tools that can be used to accomplish a wide variety of data analysis tasks. The book covers the fundamentals of SPSS, and by the time they reach the end of the book, readers will have a working knowledge of how to use SPSS to read, manage, and analyze data. I have written this book using SPSS Version 12.0, which runs on the Microsoft Windows operating system. However, the material covered in this book is applicable to earlier (and I predict later) Windows versions of SPSS, although the pull-down menus and dialog boxes will not exactly match the figures in this book.
The ability to conduct research is an important skill. If you are interested in learning about service delivery, client perceptions, or the knowledge, attitudes, or behaviors of a group of persons, then you need fundamental skills in research design, data collection and analysis, and report writing. This is particularly true for those interested in program evaluation and for those engaged in collecting data to contribute to policy or decision making (perhaps in support of ongoing program improvement).