Generating rows and columns of statistics

MERLIN allows you to generate statistical data in rows or columns of a table from single or multi coded variables (svars or mvars) – or in rows only from numeric variables (ivars or wvars). Two different methods are available, which we shall refer to as automatic and manual generation methods. Here is a list of all the statistics that may be generated, and the formats which control them.

BST Base for statistics
SUM Sum of scored values
SSQ Sum of squares
AVG Average
SDV Standard deviation
SER Standard error
EVR Error variance
ILL Lowest score value
ILH Highest score value
MDE Mode
MED Median
ILEn Quantiles (automatic generation only)


When using numeric variables, the last five statistics above may only be produced in frequency tables (not statistics tables).

Automatic generation method (rows only)

Rows of statistics may be generated automatically from svars, mvars, ivars or wvars. In the case of svars and mvars, statistics will only be generated if score values are specified in the labels with label control <Vn>, e.g.

DS $Q3=$20/
1;’Very good<V2>’,
5;’Very bad<V-2>’,

If any such variable is used on the vertical axis of a table, one or more rows of statistics will automatically appear at the end of the table, depending on the format(s) set – so, if F=AVG/SDV/EVR, three rows of statistics will appear. By default, they will appear in the order of the above list, but this can be changed with the SELECT STAT ORDER statement.

Note that format ILE needs a numeric setting n between 2 (= median) and 10 (= deciles). This format will produce n-1 rows showing the quantile points, i.e. 1 row for a median up to 9 rows for deciles.

To globally change the row label associated with a statistic, you can re-define the relevant special text, e.g. %AVG – but to change it for a specific variable, it is easier to include a dummy item at the end of the variable, using label control <AA> to assign the label to AVG, or <A1> to assign it to the first statistic shown, e.g. for an svar or mvar:

D;’Product X average<AA>’,

… or, for an ivar or wvar with no other labels:

V=D;’Item A base for stats<A1>’,

Manual generation method (rows or columns)

Rows or columns of statistics may be generated from svars or mvars (providing the labels contain score values as above), by specifying the statistics as dummy items within the variable. This is done using label control <T=xxx> where xxx is the relevant format setting (ILE is not allowed).

Although it requires more typing, this method has several advantages:

  • you can specify the position (and order) of the statistics (e.g. to show them before DK/NA)
  • you can give each statistic your own label
  • you can vary the number of decimal places with label control <Dn>
  • the statistics will appear on whichever axis the variable is used

Here is an example:

DS $Q3=$20/
1;’Very good<V2>’,
5;’Very bad<V-2>’,
D;’Mean score<T=AVG>’,

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