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Re: st: why STATA

From   Richard Williams <[email protected]>
To   [email protected]
Subject   Re: st: why STATA
Date   Thu, 30 Oct 2003 14:47:23 -0500

At 12:12 AM 10/31/2003 +0600, you wrote:
Dear all,

        Can any one give me an idea why Stata should be preferred for
analyzing all sort of survey data?
        What are its superiority to other available packages?

        Any response / comments will be appreciated.
        Thank you.
I have been an SPSS user for 27 years and so long as SPSS can continue to do most of what I want, I probably won't drop it as my primary package. Nonetheless, I occasionally wander over to Stata, and I can see some real appeal to it.

* Spss has 50 routines which seem to have been written by 50 different people each of whom had their own unique ideas about what syntax and features should be like. Stata is far more internally consistent in its commands. (I do like SPSS's help and user interface better than Stata's; on the other hand, SPSS has to be better because there is no way anybody could remember all of the wildly differing syntax across commands.)

* I've barely scratched the surface of what Stata can do with graphs, but I like what I've seen. An example can be found at Awfully simple stuff, I know, but I find it quite helpful and I don't know how to easily do it in SPSS.

* Hamilton's book on Statistics with Stata is wonderful. It seems like every corresponding SPSS book I have ever seen stops with pretty basic material. Hamilton covers both basic and advanced topics. I have this strong urge just to steal and covert all his examples and write a book called Statistics with SPSS. I figure I could get by with it, as no self-respecting Stata person would ever admit they had read an SPSS book.

* I love Spss's data base manipulation features although I've heard claims that Stata is also very good. But of course, it is fairly easy to move data from one package to another. One of my colleagues says "Use SPSS for recodes; use Stata for everything else."

* Stata seems faster than SPSS, at least for some tasks. I suspect that is because it stores so much in memory. On the other hand, I have some data sets that are so monstrous, I can't get them to work in Stata even though SPSS can slowly but surely tackle them (I use version 7, I don't know if 8 is any different).

Richard Williams, Associate Professor
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