This page shows an example correlation with footnotes explaining the
output. These data were collected on 200 high schools students and are
scores on various tests, including science, math, reading and social studies (**socst**).
The variable **female** is a dichotomous variable coded 1 if the student was
female and 0 if male.

In the syntax below, the **get file** command is used to load the data
into SPSS. In quotes, you need to specify where the data file is located
on your computer. Remember that you need to use the .sav extension and
that you need to end the command with a period. By default, SPSS does a
pairwise deletion of missing values. This means that as long as both
variables in the correlation have valid values for a case, that case is included
in the correlation. The **/print** subcommand is used to have the
statistically significant correlations marked.

get file "c:hsb2.sav". correlations /variables = read write math science female /print = nosig.

a. **Pearson Correlation** – These numbers measure the strength and
direction of the linear relationship between the two variables. The
correlation coefficient can range from -1 to +1, with -1 indicating a perfect
negative correlation, +1 indicating a perfect positive correlation, and 0
indicating no correlation at all. (A variable correlated with itself will
always have a correlation coefficient of 1.) You can think of the
correlation coefficient as telling you the extent to which you can guess the
value of one variable given a value of the other variable. From the
scatterplot of the variables **read** and **write** below,
we can see that the points tend along a line going from the bottom left to the
upper right, which is the same as saying that the correlation is positive. The
.597 is the numerical description of how tightly around the imaginary line the
points lie. If the correlation was higher, the points would tend to be closer to the
line; if it was smaller, they would tend to be further away from the line.
Also note that, by definition, any variable correlated with itself has a
correlation of 1.

b. **Sig. (2-tailed)** – This is the p-value associated with the
correlation. The footnote under the correlation table explains what the
single and double asterisks signify.

c. **N** – This is number of cases that was used in the correlation.
Because we have no missing data in this data set, all correlations were based on
all 200 cases in the data set. However, if some variables had missing
values, the N’s would be different for the different correlations.

## Scatterplot

graph /scatterplot(bivar) = write with read.

## Correlation using listwise deletion of missing data

The correlations in the table below are interpreted in the same way as those
above. The only difference is the way the missing values are handled.
When you do a listwise deletion, as we do with the **/missing = listwise**
subcommand, if a case has a missing value for any of the variables listed on the
**/variables** subcommand, that case is eliminated from all correlations,
even if there are valid values for the two variables in the current
correlation. For example, if there was a missing value for the variable **
read**, the case would still be excluded from the calculation of the
correlation between **write** and **math**.

There are really no rules defining when you should use pairwise or listwise deletion. It depends on your purpose and whether it is important for exactly the same cases to be used in all of the correlations. If you have lots of missing data, some correlations could be based on many cases that are not included in other correlations. On the other hand, if you use a listwise deletion, you may not have many cases left to be used in the calculation.

Please note that SPSS sometimes includes footnotes as part of the output. We have left those intact and have started ours with the next letter of the alphabet.

correlations /variables = read write math science female /print = nosig /missing = listwise.

b. **Pearson Correlation** – This is the correlation between the two
variables (one listed in the row, the other in the column). It is
interpreted just as the correlations in the previous example.

c. **Sig. (2-tailed)** – This is the p-value associated with the
correlation. The footnote under the correlation table explains what the
single and double asterisks signify.