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Thread: How to find "active" time periods in my database

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    How to find "active" time periods in my database

    For my thesis I'm using a database of 9 years (unit of analysis = 1 day). The variable I want to examine is "number of actions per day" (a ratio variable with min = 0 and max =6). I'm working in spss statistics.
    I want to check for time periods with an unusually high number of actions (periods of 2-3 weeks).
    I really don't know how to begin doing this. I know the basics of working with spss but this is something I've never learned. I'm pretty sure there is an easy answer to this problem, but I'm completely stuck.

    Thanks in advance!

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    Re: How to find "active" time periods in my database

    A comment/question first. "number of actions per day" is count data, not ratio. Ratio data can be expressed in decimal form while count data is integer. Why is there a max of 6? Is this a capacity issue?

    They following suggestion is not an ideal solution because of your limit of 6, but should work for your stated purpose of identifying an unusually high number of actions. I am not an SPSS user, but a quick check shows that SPSS can create control charts. The correct type of control chart for count data is a c-chart (assumes constant opportunity), or a u-chart (non-constant opportunity). If the number of counts were large enough to approximate the Normal distribution, an individuals chart would be another option.

    Plot the data in time sequence and perform a test for runs above the mean. There are a variety of rules with different thresholds, but typically a run of 9 points above the mean warrants investigation. This is close to your two weeks.

    This is a very common tool in industrial statistics, but I rarely see it used outside of that specialty, so it may not be accepted in your thesis.
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