Friday, 9 March 2007

SEED to produce random samples of values

When you want to produce a random set of numbers - e.g.: randomly assigning cases to experimental treatments of group - one should set random number seed value if you want to get the same result.

Random generator is used by SAMPLE command to generate random samples and is used by several distribution functions (NORMAL, UNIFORM). Integer begins with SEED - large integer. At the start SEED is set to a value that may vary or may be fixed, depending on your current setting. The seed value changes each time a series of transformations contains one or more commands that use the random number generator.

To use the same random distribution within a session on in subsequent session, use SET SEED before each series of transformations that use the random number generator to explicitly set the seed value to a constant value.

[SPSS Syntax]
GET FILE = 'c:\file.sav'.
SET SEED = 123456789.
GET FILE = 'c:\file.sav'.
SET SEED = 123456789.
[/SPSS Syntax]

Before the first sample is taken for the first time, the SET SEED is set. The LIST command causes data to be read and the generator number to be invoked once for each original case.


Stace said...

Do you have any advice on writing syntax in order to generate 2500 cases, with values ranging from 1 to 4 in spss?

I am a real novice with spss syntax so any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.



marcus said...


Sure, no problem! you can contact me ilovespss -at- yahoo -dot- de.

normally generating 2500 cases is matter of loop function and generating cases from 1 to 4 is not a problem. You should only decide distribution of cases. SPSS by default uses NORM distribution so on 2500 cases you would have 1/4 of cases with value 1, 1/4 of 2, 1/4 of 3 and 1/4 of 4. which might be useless.

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