Main > Definitions > What is SPSS?

IBM SPSS Statistics is a software product used for statistical analysis, including data access and preparation, graphics, modeling and analytical reporting. The program, originally called Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, was released in 1968 and quickly became one of the most widely used statistics programs in the social sciences, including in healthcare, government, market research and surveying.

The basic SPSS package includes:

• ANOVA – simple factorial.
• Cluster.
• Correlate.
• Crosstabs (contingency tables).
• Curve estimation.
• Descriptive ratio statistics.
• Descriptives.
• Discriminant analysis.
• Distances.
• Explore.
• Factor analysis.
• Frequencies.
• Linear regression.
• Means.
• Multidimensional scaling.
• Multiple response.
• Nonparametric tests.
• Oneway ANOVA.
• PLUM regression.
• Quick cluster.
• Reports.
• t tests.
• TwoStep cluster analysis.

SPSS Pie charts are found in the legacy dialogs section of the toolbar.

### Major differences Between Microsoft Excel and SPSS

Both Excel and SPSS have a similar feel, with pull-down menus, a host of built-in statistical functions and a spreadsheet format for easy data entry. However, SPSS is specifically built for statistics and surpasses Excel in many ways, including:

• Faster and easier basic function access like descriptive statistics (i.e. mean, standard deviation or median). While Excel does have built-in functions, SPSS has these basic statistics elements in pull down menus.
• Wider variety of graphs and charts in SPSS. Excel does have a wide range of basic charts, but if you want to create complex graphs like contingency tables, this is much easier in SPSS with the pull-down menus.
• Easier to find statistical tests. While Excel does have a wide range of statistical tests built-in, the pull-down menus in SPSS make for faster access.

There are several disadvantages to using SPSS — especially for the casual learner–including the hefty price tag (at time of writing, a full version of IBM Statistics SPSS Standard costs \$5270!). Therefore, unless you are attached to a university or other organization that has already purchased a multi-user license, you’re unlikely to find the program on a personal computer.