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st: substringing long, varying length text variables into individual variables


From   Todd Wagner <twagner@stanford.edu>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   st: substringing long, varying length text variables into individual variables
Date   Wed, 02 Apr 2008 13:47:58 -0700

Hi,

I have data from a publicly available database (clinicaltrials.gov). This database has a number of text variables that I want to break into individual variables and I could use some help.

For example, one of the variables is called study designs. Here are some data from the study designs variable

Treatment|Randomized|Double-Blind|Placebo Control|Parallel Assignment|Safety/Efficacy Study
Prevention|Randomized|Open Label|Active Control|Parallel Assignment|Bio-equivalence Study
Prevention|Randomized|Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)|Crossover Assignment
Randomized|Single Blind|Active Control|Parallel Assignment
Natural History|Cross-Sectional|Case Control|Prospective Study
Treatment|Randomized|Open Label|Active Control|Parallel Assignment|Efficacy Study
Treatment|Randomized|Double-Blind|Placebo Control|Single Group Assignment|Safety/Efficacy Study
Treatment|Randomized|Open Label|Placebo Control|Parallel Assignment|Safety/Efficacy Study
Treatment|Randomized|Double-Blind|Active Control|Parallel Assignment|Safety/Efficacy Study
Prevention|Randomized|Double-Blind|Placebo Control|Parallel Assignment|Safety/Efficacy Study
Treatment|Randomized|Single Blind (Investigator)|Placebo Control|Parallel Assignment
Treatment|Randomized|Open Label|Active Control|Parallel Assignment|Efficacy Study

What I want to do is parse this text using the "|" into individual variables

So the first case would be
des1 des2 des3 des4 des5 des6
Treatment Randomized Double-Blind Placebo Control Parallel Assignment Safety/Efficacy Study

I can think of a brute force way where I save this variable and my id variable, change | to a comma, output as text, read the text into stata as a comma separated file, and then merge it back into my data. Sounds silly, but perhaps it is the easiest. Any other ideas?

Thanks,

Todd

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