What is Stata?
According to Stata Corp (2016), Stata is “a complete, integrated statistical software package that provides everything you need for data analysis, data management, and graphics”. Basically, Stata is a software that allows you to store and manage data (large and small data sets), undertake statistical analysis on your data, and create some really nice graphs.
STATA is commonly used by health researchers, particularly those working with very large data sets, because it is a powerful software that allows you to do almost anything you like with your data.
It’s important to note that Stata is not the only statistical software – there are many others that you may come across if you pursue a career that requires you to work with data. Some of the other common statistical packages include SPSS and SAS (yes, they all start with ‘s’!). The focus for this session, however, is on Stata.
WHY USE STATA?
Stata can import data in a variety of formats. This includes ASCII data formats (such as CSV or databank formats) and spreadsheet formats (including various Excel formats).
Stata’s proprietary file formats are platform independent, so users of different operating systems can easily exchange datasets and programs. Stata’s data format has changed over time, although not every Stata release includes a new dataset format. Every version of Stata can read all older dataset formats, and can write both the current and most recent previous dataset format, using the saveold command. Thus, the current Stata release can always open datasets that were created with older versions, but older versions cannot read newer format datasets.
Stata can read and write SAS XPORT format datasets natively, using the fdause and fdasave commands.
Some other econometric applications, including gretl, can directly import Stata file formats.