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Re: st: RE: Taking averages, etc.

From   Richard Williams <[email protected]>
To   [email protected]
Subject   Re: st: RE: Taking averages, etc.
Date   Wed, 17 Dec 2003 07:55:56 -0500

At 06:34 AM 12/17/2003 -0600, Fred Wolfe wrote:
However, as Nick will probably tell you soon, there is much to said for simplicity and clarity. I prefer to define the if condition into individual variables together with textual notes or labels to state what the variables mean. Complicated code is all well and good when you are writing it, but when you come back to the program 6 months later the code is very difficult to understand.

Thanks Fred. To me, an if-then-else structure is simpler, clearer and less error prone. Not only is it used by SPSS, it is used by most programming languages I have worked with. And, it is easy enough to add comments explaining what the code does, which I think should be done with anything you might go back to 6 months later.

Part of this bias no doubt reflects familiarity though. One of the things I like about Stata is that even if I have never used a statistical procedure before, I can pretty much guess what its basic syntax will be like and how to use post-estimation commands for it. This is certainly not true of SPSS! But, when it comes to data base manipulation, the learning curve is much greater. There are a lot of commands, functions, etc. It may be that Stata is better at data base manipulation than SPSS -- I really don't know -- but my practice right now is to often get the data ready in SPSS and then convert it into Stata format.

Richard Williams, Associate Professor
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