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Re: st: Stata vs SPSS

From   Fred Wolfe <>
Subject   Re: st: Stata vs SPSS
Date   Sat, 14 Oct 2006 05:46:04 -0500

Our group recently had an experience with SAS vs. Stata that maybe illuminating. We collected, managed and analyzed data from a clinical trial using interfaces that we in part designed that made use of scanning software (Teleform), SQL and Stata. At the end of the study the sponsor unexpectedly asked us for 102 specially formatted tables. The format of the tables was complex, but was based on SAS generated tables that were standard for the sponsor. The tables had multiple columns, statistics placed at special points within the tables, group comparisons and interspersed headings. Although we could easily produce individual components of the tables, the completed tables as requested was something we could not do but that they did easily in SAS. When I say we could not do it, I don't mean it was impossible. But at best it would have required very complex Stata programming. The amount of work required on our part would have been enormous and we refused to do it. Instead, we provided the corporate sponsor with SAS files using -fdasave- so that they could make the tables they wished.

Stata has problem with output formatting and reports. Although this is rarely limiting for manuscripts and short reports, a substantial number of postings to this list (and programs) are concerned with production of formatted output. In the world I live in, I have to share output with colleagues and journals using the most commonly used formats: MS Word (or equivalent) and Excel (or equivalent). I need attractive, non-proportional fonts, flexible page formatting and simple control of labels and titles. Easy to request and very hard to implement, I'm sure. But such abilities would make Stata an even greater package than it is now.

Fred Wolfe

Fred Wolfe
National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases
Wichita, Kansas
Tel +1 316 263 2125

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