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st: most requested *simple* features to help SPSS users transition


From   "JVerkuilen (Gmail)" <jvverkuilen@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   st: most requested *simple* features to help SPSS users transition
Date   Fri, 19 Oct 2012 10:43:39 -0400

Having decided to use Stata instructionally I run into a few little
things that would be nice and, to my knowledge, don't exist. Slowly
but surely the students here are switching over as they realize they
need to learn things like propensity scoring. In all honesty I don't
care what they do when they grow up, but it greatly simplifies my life
not to have to deal with SPSS. However there are some little things
that turn out to be resistance-causing on the part of folks used to
it:

(1) A simple way to clear the Results window. -clear- nukes the data
in memory. An easy workaround is simply to hold the return key down
for a goodly bit of time, but a way to get a clean results window
would be very nice.

(2) -tabulate- could use a few more options. For instance, it doesn't
generate cell residuals or adjusted residuals, or compute odds ratios.
-cc- runs the latter but other people use odds ratios and
Mantel-Haenszel tests too and won't necessarily think to look under
Tables for Epidemiologists. ;)

(3) SPSS has one "killer app": Data management in it is quite nice.
For instance, "automatic recode" is monumentally convenient. This
takes a variable, automatically creates a new one with sequential
numbers and labels it with the values of the old variables. The
variable can be big 'n nasty, like a string with hundreds of unique
entries. The ability to do things like paste labels and so on is also
handy, though it may go against the general philosophy of careful
tracing of all changes to data.
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