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Showing posts from September 4, 2011


Vectors and loops are two tools drawn from computer programming that can be very useful when manipulating data. Their primary use is to perform a large number of similar computations using a relatively small program. Some of the more complicated types of data manipulation can only reasonably be done using vectors and loops. A vector is a set of variables that are linked together because they represent similar things. The purpose of the vector is to provide a single name that can be used to access any of the entire set of variables. A loop is used to tell the computer to perform a set of procedures a specified number of times. Often times we need to perform the same transformation on a large number of variables. By using a loop, we only need to define the transformation once, and can then tell the computer to do the same thing to all the variables using a loop. If you have computer-programming experience then you have likely come across these ideas before. However, what SPSS calls