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Re: st: To Stata programmers - All programs should provide references


From   Richard Williams <Richard.A.Williams.5@ND.edu>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: To Stata programmers - All programs should provide references
Date   Sun, 25 Nov 2007 10:49:40 -0500

At 09:06 AM 11/22/2007, tiago.pereira@incor.usp.br wrote:
First, most packages (at least those I have used) fail to provide
references and detail on how their estimates are obtained (formulae).

Second, before being available for general users, Stata programs (i.e.
those availabe in SSC or elsewhere) are extensively validated? As a
reviewer, should one trust 100% in new user written Stata programs?
When I submitted my first program to SSC, I expected to hear back in a week or two whether it had passed rigorous validation tests and been accepted. When Kit got back to me an hour later and said it was up, I (a) was very impressed with his efficiency, and (b) realized that it was up to me to make sure the thing really was working right.

For my own part, when possible I try to test my programs against SPSS and/or published results that I can replicate. If I am doing it wrong, at least I have company.

Providing references is a good idea and many people do it.

You should remember that user-written routines generally are written by amateur programmers who may or may not have gone to great lengths to validate their results. They also may not have anticipated all the conditions under which their programs may be used, e.g. does the program work correctly with weights? Stata's user-written routines are a tremendous asset and are generally well done but it doesn't hurt to occasionally do some additional checks to make sure you believe the results, e.g. run the same thing in a different package.


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Richard Williams, Notre Dame Dept of Sociology
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EMAIL: Richard.A.Williams.5@ND.Edu
WWW: http://www.nd.edu/~rwilliam

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