University of Strathclyde



To facilitate the teaching of handling psychometric data within a statistical software package (SPSS), a video tutorial was prepared using screen capture software and made available to level 3 Psychology students on MyPlace. The video tutorial features both visual and audio content and demonstrates how to complete a number of operations within SPSS, specifically: (i) entering research participant responses from a psychometric scale (ii) reversing scores (iii) computing total scores and descriptive statistics for a psychometric scale, and (iv) testing the internal consistency of a scale using a statistic called Cronbach’s alpha.


School of Psychological Sciences and Health

Faculty of Humanities and Social Science

Contact Details

Dr Allan McGroarty




In the BA Psychology course, such skills have traditionally, and continue to be, taught by a tutor in a face-to-face lab setting. The video tutorial was devised to sit alongside and to complement this more traditional means of delivery. Students are encouraged to complete the video tutorial in their own time, either before or after attending the tutor-led lab session, and they may complete it as many times as they wish. Together, the face-to-face lab and video tutorial constitute a blended learning approach to the teaching of handling psychometric data within SPSS.


A considerable proportion of our students on the BA Psychology course find statistics, and the practical use of statistical software, a challenging aspect of their degree. Hence, students commonly seek support from staff to assist their understanding. A video tutorial would seem to be an efficient way of meeting at least some of this demand in larger classes.

Lessons Learnt

Video content is inherently more dynamic than static printed material and so is well suited to the teaching of statistical software skills.

Student feedback from class evaluations has been positive:

  • “The SPSS session was very useful, particularly for gaining confidence on how to use SPSS more independently.”
  • “Allan's SPSS session was useful in further practice with software, particularly with the practical report for the class requiring use of SPSS.”
  • “Allan McGroarty's session was very useful and I feel that more of these types of exercises should be incorporated into the class.”


The only challenge in implementing this initiative was that some additional time was required to develop the video and audio content, compared with the development of more traditional teaching materials. Time was also required in learning to use the screen capture software. However, this can of course be balanced against the time saved once the resource is made available to students.


The video tutorial is currently used in class C8303 Individual Differences at level 3 of the BA Psychology degree. In recent years, the class size has ranged from 80 to 115 students.

Suggestions for Transferability

This initiative could be used in similar contexts where students are required to develop skills in the use of software. Given the initial development effort required, it is best suited to instances where no significant changes are anticipated in teaching content over a period of time.

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JPEG File Header_image_video.jpg Oct 24, 2016 by Robina Nicholson