Top 57 Statistical Software 4.
The proportion of articles in which SAS was used increased steadily from During the same period, the proportion of articles in which use of Stata or SPSS was mentioned remained about the same.
Of the instances of software use, the vast majority Although the proportion of non-U. For example, Stata was used in Use of SAS was somewhat more common in non-U. Discussion There is little information available about what kind of statistical software is used in the HSR field or, for that matter, in other academic disciplines.
A variety of articles have been published comparing the features of various statistical software applications and identifying their relative benefits for use in research studies. But virtually no information is publically available about which types of statistical software are most commonly used for data analysis purposes.
A few investigators have attempted Statistical analysis software packages offer some insight on this question.
For example, a survey conducted by Scotch et al. However, that survey was based on a small group of 36 participants. Robert Muenchen has analyzed data on the number of Google Scholar hits for various statistical software packages from through [ 7 ].
Muenchen's analysis for covering articles from all disciplines found that Stata was the most commonly cited statistical software application, with about 24, Google Scholar hits, followed by SPSS about 19, and SAS about 17, The present study is the first to provide detailed information on statistical software usage in HSR studies.
Moreover, between andthe use of SAS increased considerably, while the use of other software applications stayed the same or fell. August 31, and especially version 9. March 14, that gave users the ability to use balanced repeated replication BRR and jackknife methods for variance estimation with complex survey data, in addition to the Taylor series approximation methods that already existed in previous versions of SAS.
Our simple stratification of the data revealed that use of SPSS was disproportionately greater in non-U. Variations based on country of authorship may be the result of various factors, including marketing strategies by the software vendors, researchers' background and training, and the specific types of HSR research conducted in the U.
However, since this study was primarily focused on articles from U. HSR journals, we were unable to collect sufficient information to determine software usage trends in other countries or to make comprehensive international comparisons.
Further studies based on a selection of non-U. Given that we restricted our attention only to original research articles rather than reviews, meta-analyses, editorials, etcit was surprising that only HSR journals identified the specific software used in the data analysis.
The proportion of articles mentioning specific analytical software was similar among articles with U. In most cases, there was no way of knowing from the information contained in the articles why the specific type of software used in the data analysis was not identified.
We suspect that in some cases the use of statistical software was unnecessary, and in other cases researchers conducted computerized analyses, but without identifying explicitly which particular software application was used.
Additionally, some researchers may have written their own computer program to perform an analysis rather than relying on a general-use software application. It should be noted that journals have varying editorial policies concerning the identification of particular software products.
Some journals, such as the Journal of Preventive Medicine and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, require authors to specify the name and version number of statistical software utilized.
However, some journals specifically instruct authors not to identify the software used for data analysis. For example, instructions for the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery dictate that authors "do not identify any statistical software unless some aspect of the analysis was uniquely dependent on a particular software package.
These guidelines generally advise authors to identify the statistical software and version used, when applicable. Interestingly, none of the three journals used in this study contained specific instructions for authors as to whether or not to identify the specific statistical software employed in their studies.
A primary reason to be concerned about identifying the precise statistical software used in studies is because different software packages can produce varying results, owing to differences in the estimation methods and algorithms used to perform a specific statistical analysis. Indeed, several recent studies have documented numerous inconsistencies in output among commercial software programs based on each program's underlying methodological assumptions [ 1213 ].
To ensure reliability of analytical results across studies and reasons for any observed inconsistenciesit would be helpful for investigators to identify not only the general software package and version number, but also the specific software procedures used in the analysis.
Conclusions The intention of this brief report is to provide health services researchers with general information about the most common types of statistical software used in HSR, describe recent trends in software usage, identify variations in use of software among researchers in the U.Professors and teachers, SAS ® University Edition has a lot to offer!.
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