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Re: st: Re: Your paper on Stata,SAS and SPSS

From   "John F Hall" <>
To   <>
Subject   Re: st: Re: Your paper on Stata,SAS and SPSS
Date   Tue, 10 Aug 2010 21:48:03 +0200


I only joined the list two days ago, so I haven't had a chance to find much Stata syntax to set alongside SPSS. Listers have sent one or two one-liners, but with no accompanying output examples.

I'm talking about reading from a raw data matrix, adding variable and value labels, declaring missing values, data transformations, index construction and the like (possibly via correlation) followed by simple analysis like frequency counts, barcharts and contingency tables using %%, not fancy multivariate inferential statistics. Had I still been teaching, that would have come much later in my course, but far too late for the survey report that had to be on the client's desk by yesterday.

You're welcome to download data sets and tutorials from my site and offer Stata examples to set alongside the SPSS syntax and output (no GUI for me: far too cumbersome, complex and tiresome).

John Hall

----- Original Message ----- From: Alan Acock
Cc: ; ; Bruce Weaver
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 5:43 PM
Subject: Re: st: Re: Your paper on Stata,SAS and SPSS

John Hall indicates that with the limited math/statistics background of his students, the "syntax examples I have seen in Stata, . . . would easily put (them) off." I'm not sure what examples John has seen. Often those shared on statalist are technical and not appropriate to beginning students. If you think about a basic introductory research courses in the social sciences, the actual Stata commands that would be relevant are vastly simpler than those used in SPSS or SAS. For SPSS readers who don't appreciate this, here are a few
examples they might compare to the lengthy syntax needed by SPSS

(chi-square test)
.table var1 var2, chi2

(independent t-test)
.ttest var1 var2

(grouped t-test)
.ttest var1, by(gender)

(Correlation matrix)
.corr var1 - var10

(OLS regression)
.regress y x1 x2 x3, beta

(logistic regression)
.logit y x1 x2 x3, or

If they get a little more advanced and do a Poisson regression, compare the SPSS command to do a Poisson regression to Stata's--Really--try it in SPSS
.poisson y x1 x2 x3

How about doing a principal component "factor" analysis--the default type in SPSS. In Stata the command is:
.factor x1 -x10, pcf
Then, if you want a varimax rotation you have the post estimation command

Stata's goal is "type a little, get a little." The output wastes far less space than does SPSS. There are options and post estimation commands for more advance users. For example, if you want alpha for a 10-item sale you would enter
.alpha var1 - var10
If you wanted item analysis like SPSS or SAS provide, you would enter
.alpha var1 - var10, item

Of course, Stata has excellent menus, but the reason Stata users don't use them as much as SPSS users is less the acknowledged elegance of the SPSS menus than it is the rigid structure of Stata commands resulting in much simpler command structure (syntax) than is found in SPSS. I suspect that if John listed all the procedures he taught in his research methods course, the Stata commands could be all listed on a single page.

Although Stata is vastly more powerful than SPSS for advanced statistical applications (as well as a fraction of the cost), Stata is also much less cumbersome for elementary applications. I was motivated to write my "Gentle Introduction to Stata" (StataPress), because many books about Stata focused on advanced applications and many social/behavioral scientists had the notion that Stata was just for advanced users. I believe that the advantages of Stata are even greater for beginners--not to mention offering them greater opportunity for growth.

Alan Acock

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