How to Calculate a Five Number Summary in SPSS


five number summary is a way to summarize a dataset using the following five values:

  • The minimum
  • The first quartile
  • The median
  • The third quartile
  • The maximum

The five number summary is useful because it provides a concise summary of the distribution of the data in the following ways:

  • It tells us where the middle value is located, using the median.
  • It tells us how spread out the data is, using the first and third quartiles.
  • It tells us the range of the data, using the minimum and the maximum.

This tutorial explains how to quickly calculate a five number summary for a dataset in SPSS.

Example: Five Number Summary in SPSS

Suppose we have the following dataset in SPSS that displays the annual income (in thousands) of 15 individuals:

To calculate the five number summary for this dataset, click the Analyze tab, then Descriptive Statistics, then Frequencies:

In the new window that pops up, drag the variable income into the box labelled Variable(s).

Next, click the Statistics button. Make sure each of the following boxes is checked:

  • Quartiles
  • Minimum
  • Maximum
  • Median

Then click Continue.

Five number summary options in SPSS

Then click OK. The five number summary results will appear:

Five number summary in SPSS

From the results we can see the five number summary for this dataset is as follows:

  • The minimum: 18
  • The first quartile: 34.00
  • The median: 54.00
  • The third quartile: 85.00
  • The maximum: 108

Additional Resources

Five Number Summary Calculator
How to Calculate a Five Number Summary in Excel

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