Chapter 4: Analysing the Data |

## Frequency DistributionsFrom the data in Figure 4.1, a large number of questions can be answered. For example, how many students had only 1 sexual partner in the past year? What was the maximum number of sexual partners? Did more students abstain from sex in the past year than who did not? What percent of students who responded had fewer than 5 sexual partners past year? Some of these questions can be answered easily and others with more difficulty. For example, to answer the first question, youŐd have to count up all the ones. To answer the second question, you would search through the data to find the maximum. How easy this is depends on how distinctive the maximum is and how many numbers you have to search through. The answer to the third question would require first counting up how many students responded with zero and how many responded with other numbers. The last question would require knowing how many 0s, 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s there are in the data compared to higher numbers.
Frequency distributions usually display information from top to bottom, with the scores in either ascending or descending order (SPSS displays the data in ascending order unless you tell it otherwise). In Output 4.1, the variable has been named "sexparts" and the range of possible values for this variable is displayed in the left-hand column. The number of times that score occured in the data set is displayed under "Frequency." So 83 of the 177 respondents had only one sexual partner last year, which is the answer to the first question. This is derived from the "83" in the "1.00" row. You can see that the most frequent response was "1" with "0" and "2" occurring next most frequently and about equally often. Interestingly, 3 people had 10 or more sexual partners last year. This is derived by noting that there is only 1 "10" response, 1 "14" response, and 1 "15" response, which sums to 3 responses greater than or equal to 10. In general, it would more useful to answer these questions with proportions or percentages. It is quite easy to convert these absolute frequencies into proportions or percentages. A A more meaningful way of expressing a relative frequency is as a Note the difference between reporting absolute values and reporting percentages. If we simply report that "3 people had more than 10 sexual partners for the year" we are very limited in drawing
Output 4.1 The result of using SPSS Summarise í
Another useful statistic, which can be derived from a frequency distribution, is the " |

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