[EpiData-list] Query about Epidata and Exporting to SPSS

epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca
Thu Feb 24 12:33:18 CST 2011

Dear Niamh:

I started with SAS in 1985, then went to SYSTAT, then briefly to SPSS, 
but unfortunately never learned STATA, but this is what I learned over 
the past ten years: I have no need whatsoever for any of the proprietary 
analysis packages at the low level of my sophistication.  Whenever I 
felt is was the fad of the day to do some fancy logistic regression, I 
always got hung up in the end that the dataset was so full of 
heterogeneity that made it entirely inappropriate, and that doing more 
sophisticated stuff ended up in an incomprehensible black box that 
nobody could check.  Since EpiData Analysis became available, I have 
used only that and we have managed to publish papers with intermediate 
sophistication (like stratified survival analysis and the like) in high 
impact journals (IF>10) and it was always transparent to everybody what 
we did.

As for the process itself, whether you use any of the proprietary 
software packages or not, everybody needs a quality-assured dataset, and 
none of the proprietary software packages offers that, they are for 
analysis, not for data capture.  Indeed, as Jens could further 
elaborate, the initial intent for the development of EpiData software 
was precisely to have software that would offer the possibility of 
obtaining validated, quality-assured data commensurate with good 
clinical practice, then have good export functions, so that one would 
have a format that would be readable for import into the analysis of 
choice software, and that is precisely what EpiData Entry does better 
than any other software, and above all it is free.  We then asked the 
EpiData Association to please develop an Analysis module as well that 
would cover more than 90% of the needs of researchers (but would abstain 
from offering complex regression analysis) because the sorry state of 
affairs was that researchers from low-income countries would get their 
Master's of PhD degree in some industrialized country, were taught there 
to use SPSS, SAS, or STATA - and and some universities I know of - even 
all of them.  Then they would return back home, the student-loaned 
software license would expire, and they had no other avenue left than 
pirating a copy of the only thing they knew.  Now, forcing students to 
ultimately steal software cannot possibly be the solution to the 
problem.  What I have seen in my career as a teacher is that the vast 
majority of students who play around with outrageously expensive 
proprietary software are actually doing stuff at a very, very low level 
of sophistication, and I ask myself what for one needs a 
one-thousand-dollar package to do a stratified analysis if one can do 
that with user-friendly, entirely transparent and most importantly free 
EpiData Analysis?

Apologies for the lengthy advertisement for EpiData software.

Good luck with your research,


On 20:59, epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca wrote:
> Hi all,
> I have a quick question. I used Epidata to put all my data from a survey I
> conducted. I did not export all my inputted data in SPSS but I am using SPSS
> for analysis. I was wondering is it possible to export all of my data in
> Epidata into SPSS. Or is it better to manually put it into SPSS. Also, I am
> new to research and statistics and was advised to use Epidata first and then
> analyse using SPSS. I was wondering why people use Epidata first and then
> export to SPSS. I mean, what are the advantages of doing this? Is it better
> to do this first and then export to SPSS?
> Any advise would be greatly appreciated,
> Kind Regards,
> Niamh

Hans L Rieder, MD, MPH
Jetzikofenstr 12
3038 Kirchlindach

Tel: +41 31 829 4577
Mob: +41 79 321 9122
Web: http://www.tbrieder.org

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