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st: Listing the first 5 observations

From   Damian Finlayson <>
Subject   st: Listing the first 5 observations
Date   Wed, 29 Aug 2012 15:23:14 +0100


This seems like a relatively simple query but no matter which way I
try I cannot get it to work.

I am trying to randomly select a number of observations according a
set criteria.

Say I have 3 variables: var1, var2 and random.  Var1 consists purely
of unique values (such as names).  Var 2 has groups/categories (e.g.
age). Random consists of unique random numbers.

I would like to get stata to sort each category (age) by a random
number and then list the first 5 names for a given age say 49.

The command I am trying to use is:

list var1 if age == 49

but I cannot seem to amend this command so that only the first 5
observations  (as per the random number) are listed.  If I use in 1/5
it does not work as the first observation for age 49 could be the 53
observation the second at 114 and so on.  If I ask for all
observations I could end up with thousands of names being listed.

Thanks in advance for your help,
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