Recoding Variables in SPSS

Last updated on September 21, 2021

After you’ve opened your data in SPSS and explored your data, you will likely want to recode some or all of your variables. Perhaps you want to change marital status so that married people and those in common-law relationships are counted as the same. Follow the steps below to see how to do this.

Step 1. Transform –> Recode into Different variables
Step 2. (a) move variable to recode from left to middle box
(b) give name and lable for new variable (make sure to click change)
(c) click old and new values
Step 3. In old and new values,
(a) indicate original values in upper box on left
(b) give a new value you want to give your new variable in upper box on right
(c) click add
(d) repeat for all values
(e) click continue (then ok on next box)
Note that the only output you’ll get is the syntax associated with the recode. To check your work, run a cross-tab as follows.
To run a cross-tab to check your work:
Step 1. Analyze –> descriptive statistics –> crosstabs
Step 2. Move original variable into row and new variable into columns (your new variable will be all the way at the bottom of the list of variables) –> click OK
Step 3. Check your output to make sure you coded your variable as you intended.

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