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RE: st: Stata vs SPSS

From   Richard Williams <>
Subject   RE: st: Stata vs SPSS
Date   Mon, 16 Oct 2006 12:13:34 -0500

At 10:53 AM 10/16/2006, Nick Cox wrote:
I virtually never use the Stata GUI even --
so can people knowing both say how SPSS and Stata
compare in ease of GUI use?
I'd have to give the GUI edge to SPSS, partly because it is easier to use the online help. Also in SPSS, what Stata calls post-estimation commands can generally be specified as options in SPSS when executing the original command (that represents a difference in philosophy; both approaches have their merits.) Students like SPSS because (a) they don't have to know any syntax, and (b) they are far more likely to have been exposed to it previously, and like anyone else they don't like to change.

But, the SPSS GUI has to be good because nobody in the world could possibly remember all of SPSS's wildly inconsistent syntax. I can't think of any good reason for the inconsistencies; I'm sure it just reflects the fact that different routines were written by different programmers and SPSS, unfortunately, made little effort to impose any consistency. Stata, which is at least 10 years younger than SPSS, probably benefited from seeing what other programs had done wrong.

Richard Williams, Notre Dame Dept of Sociology
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