Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Optimistic About Beer

In the spirit of prudence -- I'm not sure what boundaries exist with respect to disclosure of my research topic to a larger, non-academic audience -- I haven't described exactly what my research topic is.  Hell, I haven't even given a general description.  And aside from the title of this post -- "Optimism" -- not much else will be disclosed.  That being said, I'm not feeling terribly optimistic lately about the progress of my research.  A timeline I charted a few months ago had my committee reviewing a first draft of my proposal at this point -- I have yet to even assemble and write a first draft.   The problem isn't the actual writing, per se, but the absence of a detailed and executable statistical analysis plan.  In an ideal situation, the statistical analysis plan would follow naturally from the research question/objective/hypothesis and data structure (cohort, case/control, RCT, cross-sectional, survey, etc.), but alas, an ideal is just that:  ideal and rarely realized.  In my situation, I know where I need to go -- Google Maps is cued up and ready to go -- but I can't find my car.  I'm not even sure I'm searching for it in the right parking lot.  But I continue to search, albeit with the occasional distraction:  the most recent being the writing of a Stata program that created a series of variables each containing a random shuffling of the numbers [1,6] with no two variables sharing the same sequence.  This exercise was for the hosting of a beer tasting/testing party by my wife and me where the sequence of beers each person would taste/test would differ and be randomly generated (per the Stata random number generator).  In a previous blog posting, I described my approach to verifying that no two variables shared the same number sequence; what follows is the entirety of the .do file I used to create and output the randomly shuffled number sequences.

capture log close _all
log using BeerTestRandomNumbers, name(log1) replace
datetime

// program:  BeerTestRandomNumbers.do
// task:  create list of beers for each person w/ list randomized for each person
// project:  Team Clisa Beer Testing/Tasting Party
// author:    cjt
// born on date:  20111024


// #0
// program setup

version 11.2
clear all
macro drop _all
set more off


// #1
// declare number of observations (beers to taste)
set obs 6


// #2
// set randomization seed to ensure reproducibility
set seed 20111119


// #3
// create format label for numbers...
label define beerf 1 "Ottakringer" 2 "Gosser" 3 "Stiegl" 4 "Puntigamer" ///
5 "Schwechater" 6 "Zipfer"


// #4
// create 28 variables containing numbers [1,6] randomly shuffled
foreach num of numlist 1/28 {
  gen int seq`num' = _n
  label values seq`num' beerf
  gen rand`num' = runiform()
  sort rand`num'
  drop rand`num'
}


// #5
// generate 27! variables for pairwise comparisons to verify that randomization // order isn't the same between any two variables. 
// !!all randomization orders are different!!
forvalues i = 1(1)27 {
 forvalues j = `i'(1)27 {
  display "-------------------------------------------------"
  display "Variables being compared are seq`i' and seq`++j'"
  gen var`i'_`j' = 1 if seq`i' == seq`j'
  quietly sum var`i'_`j' if `i' != `j'
  assert `r(sum)' < 6
  drop var`i'*
 }
}
*end


// #6
// label the variables w/ guest names (note that this code was taken from a Stata Journal
// article ("Speaking Stata:  Problems With Lists"), SJ3,2.
local vars "28 PARTY GUEST NAMES INSERTED HERE"
forvalues i = 1/28 {
  local v : word `i' of `vars'
  rename seq`i' `v'
}

codebook, compact


// #7
// -list- beer tasting key for each person
capture log BeerKeys close
log using BeerKeys, name(log2) replace
foreach var of varlist z_Todd-z_Unknown2 {
  list `var', sep(6)
}
 

log close _all
exit

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