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st: RE: RE: Stata formulas

From   David Airey <david.airey@Vanderbilt.Edu>
Subject   st: RE: RE: Stata formulas
Date   Wed, 28 Feb 2007 08:31:07 -0600


And some of us are willing to spend their own money on Stata 9 documentation, full set. I did cringe, during the transaction, but it quickly passed once I loaded up my shelves.

I agree with the thoughts about R documentation. In 2002 when I choose Stata over R, the rationale was based on documentation and other kinds of support. I can get dumb questions answered more readily on Statalist than R list. On R you have to practice your ask and duck technique. In 2007, R documentation is now much better, and a set of about 6 textbooks that you can buy will get you pretty far. But still not up to the information you get from Stata documentation. I think you can actually spend more money on commercial documentation for R than you would get if you bought the Stata documentation. I'm sorry I don't have an AIC or BIC for that comparison.



--- Newson, Roger B wrote:
> These hardcopy manuals are mentioned in the online help, are
> advertised at
> and are probably a worthwhile investment if Ana does not have any at
> present.

These are indeed very very useful, and no serious Stata user can do
without them. However they are expensive and not everyone in your
department may need his own copy. The trick is to convince your
department that the department needs a full doc-set and that the
logical place to store them is your office since you use it the most
and since you are the resident Stata guru. That scam worked for me.
But seriously, it is a good idea to share the use and the costs of a
full doc-set with others.

If you are sharing with people who are just a bit too far away you
can use an older manual. For instance my department is split over two
floors, and the Stata 8 manual is located on the other floor. This will
answer 90% of their questions. At home I even have a Stata 6 manual,
but that is getting annoyingly old.

> I think they prefer not to have them on their website in .pdf
> format because they make a lot of their money selling the hardcopy
> manuals to serious users who want to read the formulas and other
> important details.

This also represents a major investment by StataCorp. Consider the
free competitor of Stata, R. The documentation is as sparse and often
sparser then the online help files of Stata. There are lots of free
getting started texts out there for R, as there are for Stata (e.g. ), but beyond that you will have
to hope that the author of the program you are interested in has
written a book accompanying the package and buy it. Programming is
just much more fun then writing documentation.

David C. Airey, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor

Department of Pharmacology
School of Medicine
Vanderbilt University
8148-A Medical Research Building 3
465 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37232-8548

TEL   (615) 936-1510
FAX   (615) 936-3747

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