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st: RE: Finding Stata commands

From   Nick Cox <[email protected]>
To   "'[email protected]'" <[email protected]>
Subject   st: RE: Finding Stata commands
Date   Mon, 4 Oct 2010 11:57:04 +0100

As Tim implies, there is an easy and a difficult side to this. 

-findit- remains the best single way of finding Stata commands. 

. findit propensity score 

does point to -psmatch2-, among other materials. 

However, this process is dependent on official Stata commands and user-written packages being documented properly, notably by people having previously thought of the keywords you want to type. Sometimes, as in this example, they are fairly obvious, but not always. 

Anyone who wants to know what is "best" can only expect only limited help. 

1. StataCorp feels free to say which official Stata commands are best for a given purpose (often by downgrading outdated commands in terms of documentation support). They won't grade or evaluate user-written commands, other than by adopting them (which these days is rare). 

2. User-programmers should feel free to say which of their own commands are best for a given purpose. 

3. You can otherwise best get a sense of what is "best" by following Statalist and listening to what people say -- or do not say. Look for programs that are well supported, well documented and well maintained. Sometimes, a programmer did a good job some years ago and there is no need to update, but often an old, unsupported program may be suspect. 

[email protected] 


I have never used propensity score matching but I considered it recently 
and did some reading in the area, and this post attracted my attention. 
I have not been following this discussion, but I happened to notice the 
claim that "most users these days would look for -psmatch2-".

So my question: why would most users look for -psmatch2-?
Why would anyone look for that name if they did not already know it?

I typed -findit propensity score- and got a lot of results that look 
useful. The first few mention -gpscore- (I have not followed links to 
know if this is relevant) and  -pscore- is mentioned near the end.

In scanning the search results I saw no mention of -psmatch2-. Yet "most 
users...would look for psmatch2".

When I think about it, I realise all the Stata commands I use are those 
that were mentioned in my training.
If I seriously wanted to do propensity score matching in Stata, how 
would I find the correct command?
(and how do I know that -psmatch2- is the correct command?)
More generally, how do I find the best command for an analysis I am 
considering but have never used?

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