SPSS is a statistical program designed to organize and analyze quantitative research data. Syntax consists of a series of commands that determine the procedures SPSS will perform. Since SPSS is widely used in social sciences research -- either by itself or in conjunction with other statistical programs such as SAS, AMOS, LISREL or MPLUS -- an introduction to SPSS is a useful component of a research based training program.
There are two methods of generating SPSS syntax: 1) writing command language from scratch and 2) using pull down menus " point-and-click" and paste. Unfortunately many SPSS resources only cover the latter and neglect the importance of using syntax to document your research process. An excellent resource that does all these things and more is by Leech, N.L., Barrett, K.C., & Morgan, G.A. (2005), SPSS for intermediate statistics: Use and interpretation and is published by Erlbaum. The appendices in Leech have a wealth of useful information. The Syntax Reference Guide that comes with the SPSS program is another important resource that new users may overlook.
Social Science Research and Instructional Council is a useful point and click online resource providing step-by-step demonstrations of various statistical procedures in SPSS, including transformation, cross-tabulation, regression, and more.