I like to think of myself as the type of person who doesn’t make the same mistake twice. But in my time as a graduate student, I have received feedback on multiple papers in which I’ve made the same technical mistakes over and over again. It was embarrassing for me to see this pattern, and surely frustrating for my coauthors to spend their time correcting me. In pursuit of improvement, I developed a checklist of common technical mistakes that I go through before sending off a paper. Some items are specific to APA style, but others are relevant universally for scientific writing. The checklist is useful to me both in writing and in reviewing others’ work, and I hope it will be useful to you, too.
By now, you should know how important it is to save your syntax in SPSS. Well, despite your best efforts, sometimes accidents happen. The last couple of summers, I did data management for a longitudinal study of college students’ sexual behaviors. Once, after I hit a flow state and didn’t look up from my computer for hours, my stomach’s aggressive growling jerked me back to reality. Adhering to my policy never to work when hungry, I decided to close my SPSS file and have some lunch. But when SPSS prompted me to save my syntax, my hypoglycemic brain directed my fingers to click “don’t save.” I noticed what I was doing a split second before I clicked the wrong button, but it was already too late! My last four hours of work were gone. Or were they? (They weren’t.)
Between the time we hit puberty and the time many of us get married, we engage in a variety of sexual relationships and experiences. These experiences nurture skills that enable us to effectively choose and interact with our partners. Research focusing on romantic relationships has found that participating in romantic relationships helps us grow in a number of ways, including:
The skills that romantic relationships foster (Collins, Welsh, & Furman, 2009; Davila, Steinberg, Miller, Stroud, Starr, & Yoneda, 2009; Davila, Stroud, Miller, & Steinberg, 2007) help shape the long-term committed relationships that many people have as adults. However, romantic relationships are certainly not the exclusive context in which people develop sexual and interpersonal competencies. Many individuals participate in casual sexual experiences like hooking up and friends with benefits. How might these experiences also shape our development?
There are a lot of statistical software packages out there. SAS, SPSS, R, STATA, Mplus, LISREL, and the list goes on. The first statistical tool I learned was SPSS, so I have a certain fondness for it, similar to how one might feel about a first car. After years of doing data management with SPSS, I know its ins and outs, its idiosyncracies, its capabilities and its limits. And even though there are flashier and more powerful programs out there, I don’t want to give up the program I know best. I feel very comfortable with SPSS. And I want to drop some knowledge on you about how to use SPSS more effectively.