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Problem Solutions for Data Retrieval

Normally the data download works fine – if not, this chapter provides solutions.

No cases in data set

You have downloaded and opened the data, but only see the header (CSV) or only the variables (SPSS or R) without any cases in the data set?

Filter Criteria

Please check the settings under Collected DataFilter Criteria for Valid Cases. For example, SoSci Survey automatically switches off “Pretest” and “Survey development” under Interview context (MODE) after the start of the survey administration period. If you want to retrieve test data, activate these two options again.

Also check the setting Interview progress. Select “All records” to retrieve even those cases in which the FINISHED variable has the value 0 (Additional Variables in the Data Set).

Setting for the selection of valid cases

After saving (Save Settings), check the Summary at the bottom on how many cases match the filter.

Visual Inspection

Open Collected DataView Data Set. On the upper left at Questionnaire selec the option “[All]”. Now, you will see all the records collected in your survey project.

View Data Set

Pay attention to the color of the case number (CASE) on the left. Blue cases are retrieved by Download Data, grey cases do not match the filter currently set in Collected dataSelection criteria for valid cases (see above).

Shifted columns in CSV

If you encounter problems opening the CSV file in Microsoft Excel, please read Data Import in Microsoft Excel: Problems while Importing.

Truncated Texts in Excel

If an open-ended text entry starts with a minus sign (-) – often used by respondents as indents of an enumeration – then Excel may cut off the text after 255 characters (contribution in superuser). Microsoft has not yet provided a bugfix for this bug.

One possible solution is to open Excel first. Then select FileOpen from the menu and explicitly define the affected column as Text in the import wizard (be careful to select the correct encoding for umlauts and the text recognition character!). However, multiple-line text entries may not be recognized correctly.

It is easier to open the CSV file first with OpenOffice, then save it as an XML file and then (if desired) open it in Excel.

Shifted columns in SPSS

If, when importing the data into SPSS, everything looks good at first, but then suddenly data is found in an incorrect variable, this may be because (a) you are using a very old version of SPSS or (b) one of your participants has given a very long response.

Under Collected DataView Data Set, please check first that the problem really is caused by importing data into SPSS.

Then please use the SPSS-Import via CSV.

Missing decimal numbers in SPSS

Depending on the language version, SPSS (like other software) expects either a comma (German) or a dot (English, etc.) as decimal separator for decimal numbers. If the data was imported correctly into SPSS by and large, but decimal numbers are missing, check whether the setting for downloading the data matches the language version of your SPSS: Collected DataDownload DataSPSS → Decimal separator.

Setting the decimal mark when downloading the data

If you are importing CSV files (e.g. in Excel or Stata), you can also find this setting for CSV files in the CSV tab.

Strange Characters in SPSS Variable Names

If you use non-Western European characters for your variables (Russian, Korean, Chinese, etc.) SPSS may not open the syntax file for import correctly. Instead of the correct variable labels and value labels, there will then be a jumble of characters.

  1. First make sure that Unicode is enabled in SPSS: SPSS Menu → EditOptions → Tab LanguageCharacter encoding for data and syntax → select the “Unicode” option here.
  2. Do not open the SPS file (syntax) by double-clicking in the browser or Explorer, but in SPSS via the menu FileOpenSyntax. Select the SPS file here and select the “Unicode (UTF-8)” option as Coding. Then click on Open.

SPSS: Open Syntax

en/results/troubleshooting.txt · Last modified: 25.06.2018 09:28 by admin
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