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

From   "John F Hall" <>
To   "Statalist" <>
Subject   Re: st: Re: Your paper on Stata,SAS and SPSS
Date   Thu, 12 Aug 2010 10:50:47 +0200

[Blind copied to selected Stata and SPSS listers]

I've been contacted by Karen Strope of Stata, who has been very helpful: they do offer an evaluation copy. I'll take her up on it when I have time to do justice to Stata.

Right now I'm in the middle of a major rewrite/re-organization of tutorials in Block 2 - Analysing one variable. Part of the problem is access to *.sav files direct from websites with SPSS (far too complex with macros or whatever, so they have to be copied first and saved somewhere that SPSS can find them on users' computers) but the main one is that distance learning is not the same as classroom delivery and immediate feedback, so I have to make sure everything works first time (it does) but also that the site pages are not too big to display on-screen, that the downloaded tutorial sessions are not too long, and that the progression from the short pre-course questionnaire (to complete, code, enter and analyse) to analysing major surveys is not too wide a leap (I suspect it is until users get used to writing SPSS syntax as second nature). So my pattern will be revised to have three rather than two cycles of:

tutorial > demonstration > exercise > specimen answer > homework > specimen answer.

I also need to ensure plenty of repetition of specific tasks (eg read raw data, transform data, analyse data) to reinforce contents of previous tutorials.

Another problem is that every time I change something I have to edit the original on my machine and re-upload to Weebly: this is both tedious and time-consuming and all-cross-references have to be thoroughly checked. If I convert *.doc files to *.pdf using Open Office, I have to make sure the pagination is stable and that tables and graphics stay on the same page, at the same time optimising the number of pages so that printing up doesn't consume too many trees.

You will get a clearer idea of where I'm coming from if you look at items on the "Background to current project" page:

especially the syllabus and specimen assessment for the 1991-92 version of my course. It closed after I left as they couldn't find anyone to teach it and it's taken more than 20 years for the Economic and Social Research Council to to catch up with their policies and funding for postgraduate training in elementary technical and statistical skills.

I really appreciate the replies I have from Stata listers, especially if they use SPSS as well. I have made several important and regular contacts via the SPSS list and hope to add others from Stata. What I mainly need is contact with people who:

a) teach Stata/SPSS as part of social research methods courses and/or

b) are themselves heavy users of either in the context of conducting or servicing survey research, particularly ad-hoc surveys or in secondary analysis of major surveys such as the European Social Survey or British Social Attitudes or their USA equivalents.

John Hall

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