SSCI2020: Preparation for the Workshops

This page provides essential preliminary information that helps students to complete 11 workshops of SSCI2020. It helps to set up computing environment necessary for SSCI2020 workshops. Especially, it will guide you to access a statistical program, SPSS, via AppStream (Macquarie University’s application streaming service).

SPSS

For the SSCI2020 workshop we will use the statistical package SPSS. Using SPSS is a MUST for completing SSCI2020. You will see SPSS-related questions in the midterm and final quiz. Also, the data analysis report requires you to analyse datasets using SPSS. You will learn how to use SPSS throughout the semester.

SPSS is one of the most widely used statistical packages in the world. It is owned by the famous company IBM.

The main advantage of SPSS is that it is user-friendly - with point and click functions, like most Windows programs.

The disadvantages of SPSS are:

  1. It is expensive to use once you graduate. A one year licence can be any where from $1000 to $10,000 per year.
  2. It has limited customisation and support for more advanced statistics. Unlike packages like Stata and R, SPSS lacks the ability to be easily customised, and because of this some of the most advanced or recent developments in statistics are not available, or are very expensive to buy.

How to Access SPSS

SPSS is the primary statistical analytic tool for SSCI2020. To run SPSS you will need to access it via AppStream which is available to Macquarie University students (In the next section, you will see more detailed explanations of AppStream). The advantage of AppStream is that you can use SPSS for free. The disadvantage is that you need to access via the internet, and sometimes it is a bit hard to transfer files in and out of AppStream.

If you want to install SPSS on your personal computer, you need to purchase the license. Several online stores offer an academic discount for students. It currently costs USD 50.00 for a 6-month license or USD 77.00 for a one-year license. You can buy it at StudentDiscounts.com, choose “IBM SPSS Statistics Grad Pack 26.0 STANDARD”.

SPSS is also available in the computer of the workshop classroom, the library and digital lounge (C5C - 17 Wally’s Walk).

AppStream

Without purchasing the license of SPSS, you can access it from your personal computer via AppStream. AppStream is Macquarie University’s new application streaming service. AppStream offers a new user interface and much more:

  • Faster and more secure way to access applications using your MQ OneID and password to login to AppStream.
  • Access applications anywhere, anytime and on any device via web browser (Google Chrome is recommended).
  • Easily save and upload your AppStream session files on Google Drive or OneDrive.
  • Improved stability, performance and security for applications on demand.

More information is available at https://students.mq.edu.au/support/technology/service-desk/appstream.

How to Get Started with SPSS via AppStream

  1. Visit https://mq.okta.com/ with your MQ OneID and password, then select Sign In.

Note: Google Chrome is the recommended web browser for AppStream.


<Figure 1>

Figure 1: <Figure 1>

  1. Select the “AppStream - Student Applications icon”.
<Figure 2>

Figure 2: <Figure 2>

  1. Select IBM SPSS Statistics 25 and wait for the application to launch. This will take a few minutes.
<Figure 3>

Figure 3: <Figure 3>

  1. Type in your MQ OneID and password.
<Figure 4>

Figure 4: <Figure 4>

  1. Click Log in.
<Figure 5>

Figure 5: <Figure 5>

  1. You will see SPSS starting. Wait until you see the screenshot in the below.
<Figure 6>

Figure 6: <Figure 6>

AppStream Navigation Toolbar

After you log into the AppStream, you will see the AppStream navigation toolbar at the top.

<Figure 7>

Figure 7: <Figure 7>

Each icon of the navigation toolbar provides a useful function.

<Figure 8>

Figure 8: <Figure 8>


Note: If you can’t log in AppStream or experience technical problems, log a OneHelp ticket with MQ IT Service Desk.


Launch Applications

Click the icon of Launch Application. You will see the screen of <Figure 3>.

<Figure 9>

Figure 9: <Figure 9>

Choose any software in the list you want to use. In this example, I click Google Chrome. You will see Google Chrome in the AppStream.


Note: This function is useful especially when you want to start SPSS again. When you don’t see a SPSS window in the screen of AppStream (maybe due to system error or in case you close SPSS mistakenly), click “Launch Applications” and choose “IBM SPSS Statistics 25”. Then, you will see a SPSS window again.


<Figure 10>

Figure 10: <Figure 10>

Switch Windows

Click the icon of Switch Windows. You will see programs opened in the AppStream. Choose the program you want to work on. For example, if you want to work on SPSS, click SPSS window in <Figure 5>. Then, you will see the full-screen of SPSS window.

<Figure 11>

Figure 11: <Figure 11>


Note: If you read this instruction for the first time, skip this note. This function is useful especially when you want to switch between SPSS Data Editor and SPSS Output Window (See <Figure 12>). DO NOT close Output Window when you want to go back to Data Editor. Click the icon of Switch Windows and choose Data Editor. You will be back to Data Editor. This is the best way to store all your work in Output Window.

<Figure 12>

Figure 12: <Figure 12>


Access Storages

The icon of Access Storages allows you to transfer files between AppStream and your local computers. The next section will explain more details on this functions.

Settings: Session Screen Resolution

Sometimes AppStream does not show the full dialogue box as in <Figure 7> (OK button does not appear at the bottom), which does not allow you to click the option (such as OK). This often happens especially when you use a small screen like a laptop.

<Figure 13>

Figure 13: <Figure 13>

To see the full size of SPSS window, click the icon of Settings and choose Screen resolution. You will see several resolutions. Try 1024 X 768. If it does not work, try a higher resolution such as 1280 X 720 or 1920 X 1080.

<Figure 14>

Figure 14: <Figure 14>

Then, you will see the full-size SPSS window.

<Figure 15>

Figure 15: <Figure 15>

File Management in AppStream

When you use SPSS via AppStream, SPSS runs at Amazon web server, not at your local computer. Thus, you can’t open files stored in your local computer directly in SPSS. You need to upload your files to AppStream before you open them in SPSS. More problematic is that the uploaded files will be gone after you log out AppStream because all AppStream sessions are temporary. It means that you need to upload your data files every time you log on AppStream, which is definitely inconvenient for you.

To avoid this inconvenience, I strongly recommend you to link your MQ student Google Drive account to AppStream. This method lets AppStream access and save your data files in Google Drive permanently. Thus, you need not upload data files every time you log on AppStream. Once data files are uploaded to Google Drive, you will be able to continue working on them in the future sessions of AppStream. The next section will introduce how to link your MQ student Google Drive account to AppStream.

How to Upload Data Files

In this section, you will learn how to upload data files to Google Drive in AppStream. Throughout the semester you will use three different datasets:

  • 2009 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (2009 AuSSA)
  • 2012 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (2012 AuSSA)
  • Crime Dataset of NSW Local Government Areas

We will upload these three datasets to Google Drive in AppStream.

  1. Go to the course iLearn page. Find a section titled “Datasets”. Download “2009 AuSSA SPSS Data File”, “2012 AuSSA Data File”, and “Data File for Crime Rates of NSW LGAs” (See <Figure 26>). You can find three dataset files(“aussa2009.sav”, “aussa2012.sav”, “nsw-lga-crime.sav”) in the Download folder of your local computer. Please check the name of the downloaded files. DO NOT Open these files on your computer. You can’t open them because you don’t have SPSS installed on your computer. Instead, you will upload these files to the AppStream and open them using SPSS in the AppStream.
<Figure 26>

Figure 26: <Figure 26>

  1. In the AppStream, click the My Files icon at the AppStream Navigation Toolbar. Then, navigate to Goole Drive >> My Drive >> SSCI2020. If you followed all the instructions so far, you will see SSCI2020 in My Files (see <Figure 25>). Click SSCI2020. You will see <Figure 27>.
<Figure 27>

Figure 27: <Figure 27>

  1. Click the Upload Files icon at the top right corner (See <Figure 27>).

  2. In the popped-up dialog box, select the file you want to upload. And click Open at the bottom. It will start uploading the file of your choice. In this example, I select all three dataset files and open them (See <Figure 28>).

<Figure 28>

Figure 28: <Figure 28>

  1. You will see all three dataset files in the SSCI2020 folder (See <Figure 29>).
<Figure 29>

Figure 29: <Figure 29>

Now you are ready to start the workshop 1 next week.

Last updated on 20 August, 2020 by Dr Hang Young Lee(hangyoung.lee@mq.edu.au)