Most of us first encountered STATA in an Econometrics class. We were given cleaned datasets and detailed do-files. Using STATA was merely mechanical cutting and pasting. Granted, the goal of these computer sessions was to interpret regression results rather than to learn STATA.

So when I wrote my first quantitative essay with original data, I did all the analysis interactively without using do-files. It was not until my first RA job that I realized all the days I spent typing on STATA command window with extreme caution (knowing there is no ‘undo’ in STATA) were utterly inefficient. I would even admit that my first ever -merge- was done semi-manually… Looking back, weeks of silly tedious manual work could have been done in just one day, if I had known how to use STATA properly.

Here are some very very helpful STATA tutorial pages from which I learned how to use STATA the right way. I hope these links could help you get there without going through a detour like I did.