Quantitative Data Analysis in Education: A Critical Introduction Using SPSS

Author(s) Paul Connolly
Publisher Routledge
Published 2007
Pages 268
Price £19.99
ISBN 0415372984
Reviewed by Mrs Margaret Simms
Review published 10 December 2007
Thank you! In his book Quantitative Data Analysis A critical introduction using SPSS, Professor Paul Connolly has produced a masterpiece for researchers who “Don’t do numbers”, and have found themselves having amassed a desk full of quantitative data now needing analysis.

Empathetic, incredible, ingenious! By way of introduction Professor Connolly attains instant empathetic status by admitting “There was a time when I didn’t do numbers.” Yet, incredibly he has been sharing his expertise of quantitative methods using SPSS with university students for ten years. Ingeniously Paul Connolly links his book with a companion website where readers will find tools and step-by-step explanations to accompany exercises in the book. Participatory expectations are made clear to the reader as a requirement of growth and success in acquiring working knowledge of using SPSS.

Having once attended an Introduction to SPSS course, I feel qualified to state that instruction received from Paul Connolly, through this book, compares most favorably, particularly as the panic attacks and fear of asking naive questions is somewhat diminished when working with a friendly home tutor and online support.

The powerful introduction builds up confidence to tackle the succeeding six chapters a little at a time; each chapter maintaining the introductory-level feel. By the end of Chapter 1 the reader will have travelled from ‘what a dataset is’ to ‘creating your own dataset’. Chapters 2 and 3 unravel some of the mysteries of variables; whilst Chapter 4 concentrates on presentation of findings. Confidence intervals and statistical significance are given space in Chapter 5. Chapter 6 is dedicated to bringing a complicated sounding range of statistical tests to life; the purpose and value of each test is explained leaving the reader with a clearer understanding of how to select and use an appropriate statistical test. There is an inviting final chapter entitled Where next. This chapter is designed to keep reader momentum and encourage an even deeper probe in to quantitative data analysis.

I have no hesitation in recommending this book to students and researchers who need a working knowledge of using SPSS.