Instructions for creating a data entry template and a SPSS data file


Data entry template


  1. Print out a copy of the questionnaire.
  2. Add to the questionnaire “participant number,” to the upper right hand corner of the first page.
  3. For each question on the questionnaire -- which has a numerical response – add a number to stand for a missing value.  This missing value number should be a number which would never be a legitimate participant response.  For example, on a question for a 1-7 scale, 999 would never be encountered. 
  4. For each question on the questionnaire – which has a non-numerical categorical response -- assign a numerical value for each answer.  For example, Gender: Male = 1, Female = 2.  Also, assign a number to stand for a missing value.  This missing value number should be a number which would never be a legitimate participant response.
  5. On the template write down the numerical values for the levels of IVs.  This is usually done on the first page or the first page where the condition label is visible.  There should be a separate ranges of values for each IV.
  6. On the page of the questionnaire where the manipulation occurs, write a condition check reminder.  This is to remind the coder to check to see if the questionnaire was put together correctly and double-check the questionnaire’s condition label. 



SPSS data file


  1. Open SPSS.  A button for SPSS is on the Window’s power bar.
  2. You will get a blank data file.  Great!
  3. File>Save; to name and file away the data set
  4. On the first column, double click the first row “var.”  You will get a menu.
  5. Give the variable a name.  The name must be less than 8 characters, can include underlines but not hyphens.
    The name should be as informative as possible.
  6. Click the type button, chose numeric and continue
  7. Click label, you can now give the variable a much longer and understandable name.  You can also label the values of the variable.
    For example, “born in the us” is 1 and “born outside the us” is 2.  For value type “1” and then “value label” type “born in the US”  Click add; then go back and do the same for 2-born outside.
  8. Click missing values.  Click the radio button for “discrete missing values” and type your missing value in the box.  Click continue.
  9. Repeat for each variable.
  10. In naming variables, include as much of the name of the variable on the questionnaire in the SPSS variable name.  For example, if you have – on the questionnaire – Social Distance questions labeled Q1-Q8; appropriate SPSS variable names for them would be something like SDQ1, SDQ2 etc.  If a section of the questionnaire is not labeled clearly regarding the DV, ask me the name of the DVs for that section.
  11. Sometimes there will be open-ended questions at the end of the questionnaire.  The largest about of data one variable can hold is 250 characters.  Thus, I usually create 3 SPSS variables for these responses. 
    1. Double click on “var”
    2. Name the variable (H_Guess1, H_Guess2, H_Guess3)
    3. Click the Type button.
    4. Click the “string” button and type 250 in the characters box.
    5. Click continue
    6. Give this variable a variable name (Hypothesis Guessing Q1).

Example (you can only open this example if your computer has SPSS on it)




Make a copy of the data entry template, give it to me and send me a copy of the SPSS data file.  I’ll review them and let you know if they’re okay.  Wait for my approval to being data entry.