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Re: st: To STATA experts - BOOK


From   SamL <saml@demog.berkeley.edu>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: To STATA experts - BOOK
Date   Thu, 13 Sep 2007 19:26:16 -0700 (PDT)

The missive offers an interesting set of observations.  My query to the
author is, what do I (or any other user) care if some people get
frustrated and decide to go back to point-and-click programs?  If they can
do their research that way, fine, good for them.  If they can't, and they
try to and fail and thus don't get their degree, don't get published, cost
their company money with bad decisions based on flawed research, and/or
get fired from their jobs in companies, well, it happens.  Sad, but it
happens, and worse things have happened as well.

I would venture to say that many (most?, all?) on this list are helping
out of the goodness of their hearts.  But the responsibility for learning
the tools of one's trade ultimately fall on the apprentice, not the
public.

Perhaps the complaint/request should be directed at StataCorp rather than
statalist; StataCorp likely has more of an interest in retaining every
user than do those on statalist who are on it for the help they can get
from people who are going above and beyond the call of duty by offering
free assistance, and for the opportunity to offer help to people who are
willing to ask a question while still accepting the responsibility of
doing their own work as well.

Respectfully yours,
Sam

On Thu, 13 Sep 2007 tiago.pereira@incor.usp.br wrote:

> Dear all,
>
> It is interesting how a simple commentary of a non-expert [noob] in Stata
> can shed light to many topics of discussion.
>
> I definitely do not want to come off as cocky, but, as a young scientist
> (20% of my whole lifetime dedicated to a PhD) and owner of almost all
> available books on Stata, I can say for sure that, in many cases, current
> available books on Stata are insufficient for non-statisticians
> researchers. And I can list all my arguments in private.
>
> Please, understand "non-statisticians researchers" as professionals and
> researchers without a background in Math, Statistics, Economy or Computer
> Science. These researchers do not have much time to wait 24h to get an
> answer to their simple {some times idiot] queries. Moreover, I cannot
> spend 1h per day seeking answers and downloading materials on the
> internet. I just wanna a bible "stata for dummies", where I can get an
> answer to [wtf does "floating-point variable" mean?] without needing to
> spend 120 hours of intro to programming.
>
>
> Stata is an excellent software, but it is quite complex for
> non-statistician researchers. There are a lot of issues to be taken into
> account, and plenty of opportunities to make errors,get frusted and go
> back to "simple-click" programs like SPSS and Statistica.
>
> In addition, except for books written by non-native English speakers, most
> Stata books are difficult to read for non-English-speakers
> non-statisticians researchers. I agree that they may be very clear to
> Brits or Americans with a good Math background. But, please, wake up,
> there are a lot of researchers from Medical Sciences wanting to use a more
> sophisticated software, and most of them are non-native English speakers.
>
>
> It is worth of mentioning that I do not want to criticize any single book.
> Furthermore, I think that current available materials are excellent,
> despite to the fact they use examples not strictly appropriate to
> non-statisticians and fail to cover all topics we need currently,
> particularly topics related to those with a background in Medicine.
>
> All the best,
>
> Tiago
>
>
>
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