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Stata YouTube channel announced!

StataCorp now provides free tutorial videos on StataCorp’s YouTube channel,

http://www.youtube.com/user/statacorp

There are 24 videos providing 1 hour 51 minutes of instructional entertainment:

Stata Quick Tour (5:47)
Stata Quick Help (2:47)
Stata PDF Documentation (6:37)

Stata One-sample t-test (3:43)
Stata t-test for Two Independent Samples (5:09)
Stata t-test for Two Paired Samples (4:42)

Stata Simple Linear Regression (5:33)

Stata SEM Builder (8:09)
Stata One-way ANOVA (5:15)
Stata Two-way ANOVA (5:57)

Stata Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient (3:29)
Stata Pearson’s Chi2 and Fisher’s Exact Test (3:16)

Stata Box Plots (4:04)
Stata Basic Scatterplots (5:19)
Stata Bar Graphs (4:15)
Stata Histograms (4:50)
Stata Pie Charts (5:32)

Stata Descriptive Statistics (5:49)

Stata Tables and Crosstabulations (7:20)
Stata Combining Crosstabs and Descriptives (5:58)

Stata Converting Data to Stata with Stat/Transfer (2:47)
Stata Import Excel Data (1:33)
Stata Excel Copy/Paste (1:16)
Stata Example Data Included with Stata (2:14)

And more are forthcoming.

 

The inside story

Alright, that’s the official announcement.

Last Friday, 21 September 2012, was an exciting day here at StataCorp. After a couple of years of “wouldn’t it be cool if”, and a couple of months of “we’re almost there”, Stata’s YouTube channel was finally ready for prime time.

Stata’s YouTube Channel was the brainchild of Karen Strope, StataCorp’s Director of Marketing, but I had something to do with it, too. Well, maybe more than something, but I’m a modest guy. Anyway, I thought it sounded like fun and recorded a few prototype videos. Annette Fett, StataCorp’s Graphic Designer, added the cool splash-screen and after a few experiments, we soon had 24 Blu-ray resolution videos. We’ve kicked off with videos covering topics such as a tour of Stata’s interface, how to create basic graphs, how to conduct many common statistical analyses, and more.

My personal favorite is the video entitled Combining Crosstabs and Descriptives because it’s relevant to nearly all Stata users and works well as a video demonstration.

Videos about Stata – isn’t that like dancing about architecture?

Stata has over 9,000 pages of documentation included in PDF format, a built-in Help system, and a collection of books on general and special topics published by Stata Press, and an extensive collection of dialog boxes that make even the most complex graphs and analyses easy to perform.

So aren’t the videos, ahh, unnecessary?

The problem is, it’s cumbersome to describe how to use all of Stata’s features, especially dialog boxes, in a manual, even when you have 9,000 pages, and 9,000 pages tries even the most dedicated user’s patience.

In a 3-7 minutes video, we can show you how to create complicated graphs or a sophisticated structural equation model.

We have three audiences in mind.

  1. Videos for non-Stata users, whom we call future Stata users; videos intended to provide a loosely guided tour of Stata’s features.
  2. Videos for new Stata users, such as the person who might simply want to know “How do I calculate a twoway ANOVA in Stata?” or “How do I create a Pie Chart?”. These videos will get them up and running quickly and painlessly.
  3. Videos for experienced Stata users who want to learn new tips and tricks.

There’s actually a fourth group that’s of interest, too; experienced Stata users teaching statistics or data analysis classes, who don’t want to spend valuable class time showing their students how to use Stata. They can refer their students to the relevant videos as homework and thus free class time for the teaching of statistics.

Request for comments

One of the fun things about working at StataCorp is that management doesn’t much use the word “no”. New ideas are more often met with the phrase, “well, let’s try it and see what happens”. So I’m trying this. My plan is to add a couple of videos to the channel every week or two as time permits. I have a list of topics I’d like to cover including things like multiple imputation, survey analysis, mixed models, Stata’s “immediate” commands (tabi, ttesti, csi, cci, etc…), and more examples using the SEM Builder.

However, I will take requests. If you have a suggested topic or a future video, leave a comment.

I’d like to keep the videos brief, between 3-7 minutes, so please don’t request feature-length films like “How to do survival analysis in Stata”. Similarly, topics that are only interesting to you and your two post-docs such as “Please describe the difference between the Laplacian Approximation and Adaptive Gauss-Hermite Quadrature in the xtmepoisson command” are not likely to see the light of day. But I am very interested in your ideas for small, bite-sized topics that will work in a video format.

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Our users’ favorite commands

We recently had a contest on our Facebook page. To enter, contestants posted their favorite Stata command, feature, or just a post telling us why they love Stata. Contestants then asked their friends, colleagues, and fellow Stata users to vote for their entry by ‘Like’-ing the post. The prize, a copy of Stata/MP 12 (8-core).

The response was overwhelming! We enjoyed reading all the reasons why users love Stata so much, we wanted to share them with you.

The contest question was:

Do you have a favorite command or feature in Stata? What about a memorable experience when using the software? Post your favorite command, feature, or experience in the comments section of this post. Then, get your friends to “like” your comment. The person with the most “likes” by March 13, 2012, wins. The winner will receive a single-user copy of Stata/MP8 12 with PDF documentation.

We had many submissions with multiple “likes”. The winning submissions are:

2,235 Likes,
1st place:
Rodrigo Briceno
One of the most remarkable experiences with Stata was when I learned to use loops. Making repetitive procedures in so short amounts of time is really amazing! I LIKE STATA!
1,464 Likes,
2nd place:
Juan Jose Salcedo
My Favorite STATA command is by far COLLAPSE! Getting descriptive statistics couldn’t be any easier!
140 Likes,
3rd place:
Tymon Sloczynski
My favourite command is ‘oaxaca’, a user-written command (by Ben Jann from Zurich) which can be used to carry out the so-called Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition. I often use it in my research and it saves a lot of time – which easily makes it favourite!

You can find the complete list of the 102 entries in the full article here

Good company

Dembe, Partridge, and Geist (2011, pdf), in a paper recently published in BMC Health Services Research, report that Stata and SAS were “overwhelmingly the most commonly used software applications employed (in 46% and 42.6% of articles respectively)”. The articles referred to were those in health services research studies published in the U.S.

Good company. Both are, in our humble opinion, excellent packages, although we admit to have a preference for one of them.

We should mention that the authors report that SAS usage grew considerably during the study period, and that Stata usage held roughly constant, a conclusion that matches the results in their Table 1, an extract of which is

2007 2008 2009 2007-2009
total articles 393 374 372 1,139
included articles 282 308 287 877
% Stata used 48.3 42.6 47.4 46.0
% SAS used 37.2 43.1 47.4 42.6

The authors speculated that the growth of SAS “may have been stimulated by enhancements [...] that gave users the ability to use balanced repeated replication (BRR) and jackknife methods for variance estimation with complex survey data [...]“. Since those features were already in Stata, that sounds reasonable to us.

Let us just say, good company. Good companies.

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We’re turning on comments next week

25 February 2011 No comments

Our target date for tuning on comments is Wednesday of next week. Don’t hold us to it, but we’re optimistic on meeting our deadline.

In the meantime, Bill Gould is so excited he’s put on hold his latest blog entry. It’s about linear algebra — matrices in particular — so it won’t exactly go out of date, and he’s looking forward to seeing the comments. Bill’s very proud of what he’s written, so be gentle. We’ll put up his posting right after comments are enabled.

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Stata is now on Facebook and Twitter

You probably already noticed the icons at the top right of the blog, but in case you didn’t, Stata is now on Facebook and Twitter. Follow us at @stata and join us on Facebook to keep up-to-date with the latest Stata-related happenings. We will share events, announcements, blog posts, and more.

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More on welcome

When Stata first started back in 1985, communicating with users–well, back then they were potential users because we didn’t have any users yet–was nearly impossible.

From the beginning, we were very modern. Back in 1985, there were competing packages, but no one (not even me) expected personal computers to replace the mainframe. Back then, about the best that could be said about the available statistical packages is that they worked (sometimes) for some problems. What made Stata different was our belief and attitude that personal computers could actually be better than the mainframe for some problems. That in itself was a radical idea! In the mainstream, mainframe computer world, there was a popular saying: Little computers for little minds.

And we’ve stayed modern since then. Stata was (in 1999) the first statistical package to have online updating and an automated, modern, Internet way to handle user-written code. Modern Statas not only have that, but can use datasets directly off the web. But we have fallen behind! It’s 2010, and StataCorp doesn’t have a corporate blog!

Well, we do now.

Well, that may not be the most exciting announcement we’ve ever made. But our blog will be authored by the same people who develop Stata, support Stata, and yes, sell Stata. It will be useful, and it might be more entertaining than you suspect. If it is, that will be because of the people writing it.

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Welcome

Welcome to Not Elsewhere Classified, the Stata blog.

Here we will try to keep you up-to-date about all things related to Stata Statistical Software. That includes not only product announcements from StataCorp and others, but timely tips (and sometimes comments) on other news related to the use of Stata.

Many entries will be signed by members of the StataCorp staff.

If you have any tips or comments for us, email blogteam@stata.com.

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