Carol S. Parke's Essential First Steps to Data Analysis: Scenario-Based Examples Using SPSS provides instruction and guidance on preparing quantitative data sets prior to answering a study's research questions. Such preparation may involve data management and manipulation tasks, data organization, structural changes to the data files, or conducting preliminary analysis. Twelve research-based scenarios are used to present the content. Each scenario tells the "story" of a researcher who thoroughly examined their data and the decisions they made along the way. The scenario begins with a description of the researcher's study and his/her data file(s), then describes the issues the researcher must address, explains why they are important, shows how SPSS was used to address the issues and prepare data, and shares the researcher's reflections and any additional decision-making. Finally, each scenario ends with the researcher's written summary of the procedures and outcomes from the initial data preparation or analysis.

Introduction to Section 4: Missing Data

This section illustrates how two researchers examined missing data in their studies. When the percentage of data missing in a data set is high, it can lead to serious consequences within the research (McKnight, McKnight, Sidani, & Figueredo, 2007). Internal validity may be compromised due to the instability or ...

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