Making Side by Side Boxplots with SPSS

  1. Open SPSS.

  2. Click on the circle next to “Type in data”.

  3. Enter the data values for both variables in one column.  Call this the combined variable.  You could type in all the values for the first variable and then type in all the values for the second variable, or alternate the values for the two variables.

  4. In a column next to the column for the combined variable, type in a name which identifies each data value as coming from the first variable or the second variable.

  5. Click on the “Variable View” tab.

  6. Type in names for the variables.

  7. In the measure column, pick “Scale” for the combined variable and “Nominal” for the variable which identifies which variable, first or second, from which the variable value originated.

  8. Click on “Graphs”, choose “Chart Builder” and click “OK” in the window that opens.

  9. Make sure the “Gallery” tab is selected, and under “Choose from”, pick “Boxplot”.

  10. Click on the “Simple Boxplot” icon in the upper left corner and drag it into the large white rectangle with the blue type in the upper right side of the window.

  11. Click on the “Basic Elements” tab and then click on the “Transpose” button.

  12. Under “Variables”, click on the combined variable and drag it onto the horizontal axis (now the y-axis) of the boxplot.

  13. Under “Variables” again, click on the variable that names the variable from which the values in the combined variable originated, and drag this onto the vertical axis (now the x-axis).

  14. Click on the “Titles/Footnotes” tab and click on the box next to “Title 1”.

  15. In the “Element Properties” window, in the white rectangle under “Content”, type in a title for the graph and then click on “Apply”.

  16. Click on “OK” in the “Chart Builder” window and your qualitative bar chart will appear.

  17. If you want to change the axis titles, right click on the graph and then choose “Edit Content” and then choose “In a Separate Window”.  Click once and then twice (slower than a double click) on the axis label you want to change.  If another window appears, just close it.  You should eventually see the cursor in the title you want to change.  Then you can make any changes that are necessary.  If you close the window, the change will appear in the original graph.

  18. If you want to change the horizontal scale, double click on the graph and then click on the bold y near the top of the window.  You can then change the maximum, the minimum and the scale of the horizontal axis.

  19. Next, click on “Edit” and “Copy”.  If you have a Word document open, you now will be able to paste the qualitative bar chart into the Word document.

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