Creating a simple bar chart with
error bars in SPSS
Dependent / Within subjects
Dependent data bar chart
Type data into Data view for a dependent
design (each level of the IV will have a
variable name)
In this example we expose participants to
two drugs over a 4 week period and
measure the number of hiccups they have
during a 1 week period after the drug. Drug
order (A then B, and B then A) are
To produce a bar chart with error bars click
Graphs – Chart Builder in the menu bar
Dependent data bar chart
If you have not clearly defined the
measurement scale of your variables then
do so now before continuing, otherwise click
on OK to continue to the Chart Builder
Dependent data bar chart
On the Gallery tab, click and drag the
‘simple bar’ icon to the preview
Dependent data bar chart
As the variables DrugA and
DrugB both contain scores
(number of hiccups) you
need to select BOTH,
before dragging them onto
the Y-Axis drop-box region
Hold down Ctrl and click
both variables before
releasing the Ctrl button
Then mouse click and drag
both selected variables to
the Y-Axis
Dependent data bar chart
The ‘Create Summary Group’ window will
pop-up informing you that it will create a
chart using the Category Labels shown
for the names of the bars on the X-axis
and a summary of the data on the Y-axis.
We will need to let SPSS know how to
summarise the data for the two
More often than not, we want to use a
MEAN for the summary. This will be the
default when you click OK
Dependent data bar chart
You can now see how the
graph will be constructed
(with the MEAN for both
drugs on the Y-axis and the
Group/Category on the Xaxis)
The summary statistic can
be changed by editing the
Bar 1 properties, if for
example, you wanted to
show the Median on the Yaxis instead
Dependent data bar chart
You need to rename the X-axis
from INDEX to something more
meaningful (i.e. The name of
the IV you have manipulated)
In this example we can set the
X-axis to read ‘Drug
Choose X-Axis (Bar1) from the
Element Properties box
(see next slide....)
Dependent data bar chart
Choose X-Axis (Bar1) from the
Element Properties box
Type a new Axis Label
If you wish, the Y-Axis can also
be renamed to something
better (by editing Y-Axis(Bar1)!
Dependent data bar chart
Finally, to add error bars:
Choose Bar1 in the Element
Properties window
Tick ‘Display error bars’ and choose
‘Standard error’ and set the
Multiplier to show 1 SE
Click OK when ready
Dependent data bar chart
Copy into your report
remembering to add a
Figure number and a
caption using APA Style
Figure 1. A graph showing the effectiveness of two drug
treatments on number of reported hiccups