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Thread: Adjusting Width in SPSS for Thought Listing Variables - Problemo (case 21096)

  1. #1
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    Adjusting Width in SPSS for Thought Listing Variables - Problemo (case 21096)

    In the past I've been able to adjust the width of string variables for things like Thought Listing, but now when I adjust the width from 765 to something like 1000 it doesn't collect the extra characters in SPSS. Furthermore, it only captures a total of 255 characters, which I believe was a default of an earlier version of SPSS. I am using SPSS v22.
    Last edited by jason_reed; 09-23-2015 at 05:36 PM.

  2. #2
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    Could you please tell me exactly how and in which file related to MediaLab (i.e., the output files, the .que files) you adjusted width of any variables for Thought Listing Items?
    Jason Reed
    Empirisoft Software Support Specialist

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    The output file within the by variable name folder ".sav". After the SPSS file is created (after running through the experiment), I was always able to adjust the width of string variables in SPSS. For example, let's say I had a thought listing variable (thought1) in the experiment with parameter n1, I could adjust the "thought1_01" variable in SPSS from the default of 255 to 500 if I anticipated that participants would write beyond 255 characters. The width default in SPSS is now 765 characters for string variables. However, when I adjust this width beyond 765, it still only captures 255 characters of writing for thought listing variables (leaving out lots of qualitative data), even though the default is 765. Not sure why this is happening.

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    What version of SPSS do you use where you experience this problem?
    Jason Reed
    Empirisoft Software Support Specialist

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    Spss 22.0.

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    Does this problem occur with only MediaLab files you created or does it happen when you run files from the Samples folder in the MediaLab file folder as well?

    Does this problem occur on only one computer or multiple computers?
    Jason Reed
    Empirisoft Software Support Specialist

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jason_reed View Post
    Does this problem occur with only MediaLab files you created or does it happen when you run files from the Samples folder in the MediaLab file folder as well?

    Does this problem occur on only one computer or multiple computers?
    I tested Sample 1 from the Samples folder because it a thought-listing event. Yes, the same thing happens. Although the width is defaulted to 765 in SPSS for variable tl1_01, it only collects 255 characters in SPSS (version 22, also using MediaLab v2012). I noticed that the entire set of characters is collected in the Excel version of the data set. So, there must be something wrong with the MediaLab-SPSS communication. The same occurs on all of my lab computers, and my student's computers.

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    Thanks for the update. If all of the characters appear in the Excel version-I assume this is the .csv file format-then you can import it into SPSS to have all of the data available.

    I will share this with a programmer here and see what they think.
    Jason Reed
    Empirisoft Software Support Specialist

  9. #9
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    I understand that the data can be easily copied and pasted from Excel into SPSS, but this wasn't a necessary step in the past, with previous versions. Previously, widening the width of a variable in SPSS, before data were collected, enabled more characters to be received and saved in SPSS (without any help from Excel)...

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    Please tell me exactly which file format from the MediaLab data folder you opened in SPSS. It sounds like you used the .sav file format. Have you tried to first open SPSS and then import either the .csv or .txt file format into SPSS using the .sps syntax file? You should be able to set the character length in the .sps syntax file.
    Jason Reed
    Empirisoft Software Support Specialist

  11. #11
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    Yes, I use the .sav file. I never had this problem in the past. My guess is that SPSS 22 had an update that doesn't correspond with MediaLab v2012. Perhaps some sort of patch needs to be created. The only way I can see more than 255 characters on thought listing events is to find them in the Excel version of the data - that creates another step as I need the complete thought, approximately 500 characters, to be saved directly into SPSS.

  12. #12
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    Thank you for the update. When using the .sav file, did you fist open SPSS and then open the .sav file, or did you just double-click directly on the .sav file to open it?

    As part of any bug hunting, would you mind first opening SPSS and then importing either the .csv or .txt file format into SPSS using the .sps syntax file? Make sure to set the character length in the .sps syntax file. Let us know if you still have the same error as if you just tried to open a .sav file.
    Jason Reed
    Empirisoft Software Support Specialist

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