The Little SAS Book: A Primer, Fifth Edition
About This Book
Who needs this book This book is for all new SAS users in business, government, and academia, or for anyone who will be conducting data analysis using SAS software. You need no prior experience with SAS, but if you have some experience you may still find this book useful for learning techniques you missed or for reference.
What this book covers This book introduces you to the SAS language with lots of practical examples, clear and concise explanations, and as little technical jargon as possible. Most of the features covered here come from Base SAS, which contains the core of features used by all SAS programmers. One exception is chapter 9, which includes procedures from SAS/STAT. Other exceptions appear in chapters 2 and 10, which cover importing and exporting data from other types of software; some methods require SAS/ACCESS Interface to PC Files. We have tried to include every feature of Base SAS that a beginner is likely to need. Some readers may be surprised that certain topics, such as macros, are included because they are normally considered advanced. But they appear here because sometimes new users need them. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to know everything in this book. On the contrary, this book is designed so you can read just those sections you need to solve your problems. Even if you read this book from cover to cover, you may find yourself returning to refresh your memory as new programming challenges arise.
What this book does not cover To use this book you need no prior knowledge of SAS, but you must know something about your local computer and operating environment. The SAS language is virtually the same from one operating environment to another, but some differences are unavoidable. For example, every operating environment has a different way of storing and accessing files. Also, some operating environments have more of a capacity for interactive computing than others. Your employer may have rules limiting the size of files you can print. This book addresses operating environments as much as possible, but no book can answer every question about your local system. You must have either a working knowledge of your operating environment or someone you can turn to with questions.
This book is not a replacement for the SAS Help and Documentation, or the many SAS publications. Sooner or later you’ll need to go to these and other sources to learn details not covered in this book.
We cover only a few of the many SAS statistical procedures. Fortunately, the statistical procedures share many of the same statements, options, and output, so these few can serve as an introduction to the others. Once you have read chapter 9, we think that other statistical procedures will feel familiar.
Unfortunately, a book of this type cannot provide a thorough introduction to statistical concepts such as degrees of freedom, or crossed and nested effects. There are underlying assumptions about your data that must be met for the tests to be valid. Experimental design and careful selection of the models are critical. Interpretation of the results can often be difficult and subjective. We assume that readers who are interested in statistical computing already know something about statistics. People who want to use statistical procedures but are unfamiliar with these concepts should consult a statistician, seek out an introductory statistics text, or, better yet, take a course in statistics.
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