Introduction to Analysis of Complex Survey Data Using SPSS

Online Workshop:

Introduction to Analysis of Complex Survey Data Using SPSS


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You’ve decided to take a complex-samplesscientifically rigorous sample for your survey. It seems straightforward–just identify the population of interest and randomly select a sample, right?

Well, no.

When surveying a population, choosing a simple random sample may not be the best approach.

A probability sample that uses strategies like stratification, clustering, and oversampling can have many advantages, like:

  • reducing data collection costs (by a LOT)
  • lowering standard errors
  • ensuring that small sub-populations are included in the sample
  • gaining access to hard-to-reach populations

The challenge, though, is that any complexities in the sampling design need to be accounted for in the data analysis.

Otherwise, all your results will be inaccurate.

Fortunately, specialized software has been developed in virtually every major statistics package to handle the analysis of survey data. In this workshop, we will illustrate the capabilities of SPSS’s Complex Samples Module for the analysis of data generated from a sample survey.

You will learn the fundamentals of survey sampling, including an overview of types of sampling frames, coverage and other related biases and talk about different sampling designs and some allocation strategies.


In the Workshop, you will learn:

Introduction to Survey Sample Concepts:

  1. Target Population, Sample Frame and Sampled Population
  2. Coverage Bias, Nonresponse Bias, Variance
  3. Types of Sampling Designs: Simple Random Sampling, Stratified Random Sampling, One and Two-stage Cluster Sampling
  4. Measures associated with survey estimates: standard error, effective sample size and design effects

Introduction to Complex Samples Module in SPSS

  1. Components of a sample survey: PSU’s, SSU’s and Sampling Weights
  2. Workflow of survey data analysis using software
  3. Preparing for analysis: Specifying the Design File in SPSS Complex Samples Module

Basic Analysis of Survey Data Using the Complex Samples Module

  1. Means, totals and proportion estimates (point estimates and confidence intervals and design effect computations)
  2. Subdomain estimates
  3. Simple comparisons across groups
  4. Simple linear regression modeling


This workshop is for you if you:

  • need to analyze survey data (primary or secondary) and don’t know how to incorporate the sampling weight and design into the analysis.
  • have ever been warned that your standard errors from estimates derived using survey data are incorrect because you didn’t take into account the survey design.
  • have purchased SPSS Complex Samples Module and want to know how to actually use it.
  • need to understand the difference between cluster and strata and subdomain or between the sampling frame and target population.
  • want to select a sample using some type of random sampling technique or design.

It is not for you if you:

  • don’t have a copy of the SPSS Complex Samples module (or aren’t planning on buying one before the course starts)
  • have never used SPSS before for basic data manipulation and analysis (Intro Stats level)
  • are looking for advice on how to write survey questions or how to measure the quality of questions or scales that might appear on surveys.

The workshop is offered as a Webinar live online workshop + Membership Site

We will be conducting the workshop live via webinar. You attend online and see what is happening on the instructor’s computer screen.

Webinars are highly interactive–you can see exactly what I’m doing in SPSS and ask questions during the session, yet you never have to leave your house or office.

We’ve also created a workshop site that you become a member of. For a year.

The site is our home-base for the workshop. It’s where you’ll find everything you need to support your learning of each module:

  • SPSS data files. These are real, true, not-textbook-perfect data files from real research projects I’ve worked on with clients, who have graciously allowed me to share them with you. You get full access to use the data to try everything I demonstrate in the workshop and try things on your own.
  • SPSS syntax code to run and explore all of the examples yourself. You won’t learn it unless you try it. So I’m giving you my syntax so you can see exactly how I got all the output I’m showing you.
  • PDF handouts of the presentation slides, which will be available ahead of each session, on which you can take notes.
  • Video Screenshot recordings of each workshop session made available within 48 hours. So you can review the material right away, a year later, or while doing the exercises. Or if you need to miss one (or all!) of the live sessions, you can still participate on your own schedule.
  • Exercises. (Yes, homework!). You really need to practice this stuff. Get your hands dirty. So we’re giving you the data to try it on your own with new models to try out. But don’t worry–you won’t be on your own stuck on some coding error that won’t work. I’m also giving you the syntax I used to do the exercises and the answers.
  • A place to submit written questions between sessions. So as you’re reviewing videos afterward (or if you missed a live session), just submit a question. I’ll answer it there if I can, or if it’s something I need to show you, I’ll answer it in the next session.
  • Video Recordings of all Q&A sessions. So if you have to miss one, just submit your questions ahead of time and I’ll answer in the Q&A. Just watch it later.
  • A list of helpful resources and suggestions for further reading. I’m not requiring a text book. But there are definitely some good books and articles out there on this topic, and you will learn the techniques better with some background reading. I’m selecting the chapters from each book that best explains each topic, and I’ll make the list available when you first register, so you have time to interlibrary loan them.
  • Bonus videos. I’ve included a few videos from some webinars on relevant topics to help jog your memory or clear up misunderstandings. Included are:
    • Complex Sampling: An Overview
    • Getting Started with SPSS Syntax
    • The 13 Steps to Running Any Statistical Model
    • The First 3 Steps to Running Any Statistical Model

You’ll have access for a year to this workshop membership site. So as we add resources, re-record sessions, and answer more questions each time we offer the workshop, you have access to the updated material.

The Instructor:

BuskirkPhotoBandWTrent D. Buskirk, Ph.D. is the Vice President of Statistics and Methodology, Marketing Systems Group.

Dr. Buskirk has more than 15 years of professional and academic experience in the fields of survey research, statistics, biostatistics, as well as sampling and data collection methodology using emerging technology.

Dr. Buskirk has taught for more than a decade at the University of Nebraska and Saint Louis University where he was an Associate Professor of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health.

What Our Students Say About Our Workshops:

“Trent was great. He is clearly someone who is an expert in the topic. He gave us a wealth of useful information. He was also a very good teacher. He organized the material well for us to digest, spoke clearly, and provided answers that were understandable. I also appreciated that he gave information that was both practical “how to” and also enough of the formula/mathematical background to help with understanding at a deeper level. Being able to learn how to do the complex analysis in SPSS was very useful for me — in the past I’ve used STATA, but is nice to be able to use the same package that I already do most of my work in (SPSS).” Carol Skay


“The materials, technology, organization, and topic selection are all excellent; a model of online instruction. I specifically appreciated the opportunity for the live Q&A, although wasn’t always able to take advantage of it. For that reason, the recordings were also very helpful.” Jason Hurwitz, PhD Assistant Research Scientist, University of Arizona


“Trent is extremely knowledgeable and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have learned from him. I feel so much more confident now in working with complex samples in general and in using SPSS to draw samples and analyze secondary data. The workshop was definitely a worthwhile investment.” -Krista Schumacher


“I liked the walk-through of menu selections in SPSS and descriptions of those. Also liked all the examples, plus the Q&A sessions. And it’s great that you record the sessions and provide the necessary files, so I can follow up later on all the things I missed.” -Amir Goren


“The Q&A’s were … helpful because you could hear real-life examples others were working on, from different angles. Helps to reinforce the concepts.” J. Basta, PhD Program Evaluation & Research Consultant


“Having the data sets to play with ourselves in addition to the specific homework exercises really helped to make this a major learning experience. … I did not realize online courses could be so effective.” -Prue Plummer-D’Amato, PhD


“The ability to hang on to all of these materials, including the bonus materials is a really great feature. I feel like I have this whole library of references that I can go back to if I need it.” – Noelle Chesley, PhD

Full Workshop Investment: $397

We’re sorry but this workshop is not currently enrolling.
Please join our waiting list to receive a notification when it is offered again.


Refund Policy: Your investment is fully refundable up to 72 hours in advance. Because enrollment is limited, no refunds will be granted after the program begins.


As with all our programs, your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you participate fully in this workshop–watch, read, and try out everything included–and find you are not satisfied for any reason, we will give you a full refund, no questions asked.

Just notify us within 90 days of purchasing the program.