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Many times your data won't come in exactly the form that you need it for analysis. For example, you may have groups that need to be combined, or you may have outcomes that need to be counted or scores that need to be reversed to be more interpretable in your results. All of these fall in the general rubric of recoding variables. There are several ways to do this in SPSS. The first way that I want to show you in particular movie is what you might call a manual recode. And the way you do this is by coming up to the Transform menu and then you select either Recode into Same Variable or Recode into Different Variables.
Now let me give you a quick warning here, when you recode into the same variable you're overwriting existing data, and while that maybe able to save some space, if you make a mistake in the recode, you will not be able to go back to what you had before. And for that reason, I recommend that you almost always recode into a different variable, which is what I am going to do in this particular case. By the way, the one I'm going to look at is this one here at the end. It's called In the Past 30 Days Have You Felt Worthless? and there are several responses that go from Never to Almost Every Day and what I am going to do in this particular one is I am going to recode it as people who have never versus at least sometimes.
So I am going to be taking all of the answers above zero and making them into a single Yes code, that they have felt worthless at at least some point in the past few weeks. So what I do is I start by taking this variable. It's called Numeric Variable and it's FeelWorthless, and I am going to create-- and I call it, EverFeltWorthless because the other one asked about how often. This one is going to be "Have you ever?" and I am going to be put in the label for this one and I am going to call it Has EverFeltWorthless. And I click Change and now it puts FeelWorthless would be coded into EverFeltWorthless.
Then what I need to do is I need to specify the old and the new values for the recode. Well, what I am going to do in this one is I am going to take zero, and that's going to stay zero, so those are the people who said they never felt worthless-- that's going to stay that way--but then what I am going to do is I am going to specify a range, and I am going to put anything 1 through the highest value, so that's 2s, 3s and 4s, that that any of those can become a 1. Now this new one I am creating is going to be called an Indicator Variable.
That's a 0/1, yes/no variable. It's a good way to do it because it allows you to also do certain numerical statistical procedures with it. Now if I wanted to set up a more detailed correspondence, I could. Say for instance, I had a variable in an opinion survey that was coded as 1 strongly disagree, up to 5 strongly agree, but then it was reverse-coded so that, for instance, in this particular case, people are talking about what they did not like. In order to make things consistent, I may need to switch it around, and I may need to switch 1 to 5, 2 to 4, 3 stays the same, 4 to 2, and 5 to 1.
I can do that by putting in each one of these manually, but because I have a pattern here where I am putting 0 stays 0 and everything else goes to a 1, I can do this particular method. 0 stays a 0, but everything else goes to a 1. Now that that's done, I can press OK and this is the syntax statement. The command is RECODE. It says Worthless (0=0) 1, so everything else equals to 1, into the new variable and then it has a label for the variable. The long name of it is EverFeltWorthless and then I turn that into a sentence, or phrase, for the label. And then the EXECUTE means it actually did the command.
Now, you don't see anything else here because this doesn't produce a graph. It adds a column. It adds a variable to the data label. So if we go back to the data set and I go to the end, now you'll see a new variable here called EverFeltWorthless, and it's made out of 0s and 1s. Now I need to do a couple of things to clean this up here. Number one is it's got these decimal places that I don't need, because I don't have any 1.5s, I just have 1s and 0s. So I am going to come down to Variable view and I am going to change that 1 to have 0 decimal places.
Also, I want to indicate that the 0 means no and 1 means yes, so I am going to come over to Values, click on that, click on the little box here, and I am going to type in value. I am going to put in a 0 and say that that means no. Click Add, and then I come back up to 1, and the Label is Yes. When I click OK, and that adds the labels. Now I go back here. I can see those on here now. So what I have done is I've taken an existing variable and if I click back here on the Value Labels button, you can see that I had 0s and 4s and so on that have all become 0s and 1s.
So I've gone from something that had a very small number of people on the high end to trying to create groups that were slightly larger for working with by people who said they ever felt worthless. This by that way is from the general social survey. It's national survey of people across the country of all age ranges. And this is one way to save this coding to get a variable that's more useful in particular analyses. Now in the next couple of videos I am going to show you how to use something called visual binning and then something called ranking, and those are two other methods of taking the information that you have and putting it into a system that would work better for the analyses that you are going to do.
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