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Re: st: Stata and R


From   David Airey <david.airey@vanderbilt.edu>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: Stata and R
Date   Sat, 17 May 2008 20:39:46 -0500

.

Maybe my statement simply reflects greater familiarity with Stata than R. But I have given R a fair amount of time, and feel I picked up Stata more quickly and retained it better. When I first bought Stata, I gave couple months of study to the user guide, to select entries (regress, anova, logit, xtgee), and a programming course. I have give about the same time now to R, and I have successfully used it with the shapes package, some genetics packages, and with the commands nls() and nlme() for pharmacological data.

I think the Stata documentation is better. People in the clinic have said they find it hard to find the right documentation in R as they need it, and it tends to be technical rather than explanatory. I agree. However, a great number of R books have now been published, filling in all levels of expertise. However, you will spend just as much on those texts as on Stata documentation.

I have a better time of it with Stata graphics. I think graphics in Stata are now just as good as R, maybe better with version 10. At the last R meeting there were difficulties with graphics device aspect ratio and Sweave that were not resolved after 20 minutes of fiddling by the expert. Go figure. One the other hand, Sweave is a good reason to use R. Having one file that contains your R code, and your results write up, that produces a final PDF report, is smart reproducible research:

http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/twiki/pub/Main/TheresaScott/Reproducible.Research.TAScott.pdf

My impression also may be tainted by what our R clinic is all about: helping people at their wits end. I don't attend an R conquests clinic.

-Dave



On May 17, 2008, at 7:15 PM, ronggui wrote:


On Fri, May 16, 2008 at 10:40 PM, david.airey@Vanderbilt.Edu
<david.airey@vanderbilt.edu> wrote:

Just about every other week I drop into our R clinic for a coffee
break to listen to people's questions and maybe ask one myself. The
clinic is about general use questions, not especially about
Bioconductor packages, which is one reason to use R. The clinic is run
by a very capable R expert. Originally I started going to the clinic
thinking to myself that well, maybe this would be the last version of
Stata I would buy, because R has come miles in development and
documentation. More often than not, however, I conclude the opposite,
and continue to regularly use Stata, thinking there is value is good
commercial products.
I am curious about why you come to such an conclusion?

Best

One interesting function in R that I can't find in Stata is Frank
Harrell's nomogram function in the Design package, which essentially
is a graphical alternative to outreg or estout.

http://lib.stat.cmu.edu/S/Harrell/help/Design/html/nomogram.html

http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~cook/movabletype/archives/2006/05/nomograms.html

-Dave
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--
HUANG Ronggui, Wincent http://ronggui.huang.googlepages.com/
Bachelor of Social Work, Fudan University, China
Master of sociology, Fudan University, China
Ph.D. Candidate, CityU of HK.
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