How to Learn Stata
Stata is a complete, integrated statistical software package that provides resources for data analysis, data management, graphics, simulations, regression analysis (linear and multiple), and custom programming. Stata is a commonly used statistical package, especially among Wharton professors.
Where can I find Stata?
Lab computers with SPSS, SAS, Stata, and R are available at Van Pelt and other libraries, as well as the Undergraduate and Graduate Data Analysis Labs in the McNeil Building. Student, faculty, and staff of the University can buy Stata at a discount. In the course of working as a research assistant, a professor may help you obtain Stata.
How can I learn Stata?
Penn Wharton PPI offers an Introduction to Stata workshop several times a year. Check here to see when the next workshop will be offered.
For other introductions, see:
- For a quick user’s guide, click here.
- For introductory material, click here. Depending on how you learn best, you may prefer the video tutorials here.
- When you are learning Stata, often it’s helpful to simply Google what it is you want to do, and often Stata FAQs appear near the top of the search results.
- Penn’s library has some strong texts, although you may find that it’s more convenient to learn on a computer and with sample code in front of you.
Some Intuition and Rules of Thumb for Beginners
- Use log files before you do anything. Log files record everything that happens so that you don’t have to worry about losing that information.
- Use do-files. These allow you to replicate what you’ve done, enable someone else to see what you’ve done, allow you to make small changes and to completely redo all your work with the small change, and it’s good Stata etiquette.
- Use a copious amount of comments, comment aptly, and organize your code well. This will help others to understand your code, and it will help you, as well, when it’s been some time since you’ve seen the code.
- Learn a number of commands, and know them well.
- Know the difference between ‘ and `(very important when dealing with strings).
- The “help” command in Stata is extremely helpful, and the documentation that it calls upon is well-written and extensive.
- Deal with obstacles as they come. It can be helpful to work on projects once you have a working understanding of Stata.