Exploratory or descriptive analyses enable researchers to analyze and describe their data prior to running any statistical tests. They are always the first steps in analyzing data. Statistics measuring spread, central tendency, or frequency can be used to provide an overall description of the data without forcing researchers to look at every value in the set. Additionally, various charts can be used to illustrate the distribution of quantitative or categorical variables.  

  • Presentation: Exploratory Statistics
    Presentation: Exploratory Statistics

    Descriptive statistics enable researchers to analyze and describe their data prior to running any statistical tests. Measures of central tendency and variance explain a data set without forcing researchers to look at every value in the set. This topic will explain how to find measures of central tendency, including mean, median, and mode, and measures of spread, including quartiles and standard deviation. Descriptive analyses are always the first steps in analyzing data. 
    - Diana Mindrila, Ph.D.
    - Phoebe Balentyne, M.Ed.

    Download Exploratory Statistics Notes [PDF]

  • Presentation: Graphs
    Presentation: Graphs

    Charts and figures are often used for exploratory purposes. Depending on the nature of the data, different types of graphical representations can be used to summarize information. The narrated presentation discusses the components of a data set (individuals and variables) and explains the differences between different types of variables. Several methods to graphically summarize the data are then described for each type of variable. The software tutorials show how to generate different types of graphs in SPSS.

    Picturing Distributions with Graphs (Notes)

  • Software Tutorial: Bar Graphs
    Software Tutorial: Bar Graphs

    This video demonstrates how to create bar graphs in SPSS.

    Instructions for Creating Bar Graphs in SPSS (HANDOUT)

  • Software Tutorial: Pie Charts
    Software Tutorial: Pie Charts

    This video demonstrates how to create pie charts in SPSS.

    Instructions for Creating Pie Charts in SPSS (HANDOUT)

  • Software Tutorial: Boxplots
    Software Tutorial: Boxplots

  • External Content