Though most of its advancements over the past decade or two have been geared toward corporate and marketing interests and needs, SPSS is still widely used for social science research as well as other disciplines. Its greatest asset, and one might argue its only strength relative to the other general purpose packages we support, is a user interface that makes it easy to perform analyses, some even quite complex (though all major stat packages have some graphical user interface these days). However, by focusing on the menu approach SPSS has greater inflexibility compared to other packages, which is coupled with a lack of modernization of the techniques now available to academic researchers. That said all of the RSS group have extensive experience with SPSS and are ready to help you with your research needs should you decide to use it. In general, SPSS can perhaps be seen as a decent package to start with given its graphical user interface, but for the sort of sophisticated techniques that go beyond simple exploration of data, a thorough attempt will often likely require you to use or at the very least supplement with something else.
With Version 14, SPSS began using other means to supplement its functionality, first starting with the ability to work with Python. With Version 16, it allows for usage of an entire other statistical program, R. If you can use either of those, odds are you probably would not be using SPSS to begin with for academic research, however if interested in learning more, here is a zip file summary.
Due to its popularity, there is a vast amount of information on the web to get you started with SPSS, so we suggest you do some Googling to see what's out there regarding your specific SPSS situation as it's likely there is an answer available already.
RSS hosted SPSS short course
SPSS Content Documentation (User manuals in pdf).
SPSS Inc.: SPSS' website
Archives of SPSSX-L Discussion - SPSS Listserv. Discusses programming, statistics and analysis.
Macros, Scripts and more: note that there is no formal testing of these, not that they haven't been in some fashion, just that you use at your own risk.
SPSS Log: A blog regarding SPSS
The Lynda.com site also has a few tutorial videos available: