Today I’m teaching myself to use Stata 13 SEM commands. Generally in Stata I use the command syntax, because it’s faster and easier and I understand it. They’re also very very simple (compared to SAS’s wtf command lines, which don’t make sense to me).
I started out learning how to do a simple mediation with the sem command and then a multilevel mediation with the gsem command. Easy!
But Stata also has a graphical SEM builder. Their documentation is SO handy, it tells you how to use it step by step. Not only did I get the same results, but I also get a nifty diagram with the coefficients on it:
Which is fucking amazing. I wonder if I can get it to flag my significant paths? All of the paths in this diagram are significant, so maybe they just don’t show nonsignificant ones.
(This isn’t my dissertation data, btw; Stata has freely available datasets on their website that you can use to learn the techniques. The best thing is that Stata can automatically download these datasets, so you don’t have to poke around looking for them. You just type “use [url here]” and it GETS it for you.)
As for the lesson in this, I realized today that what takes a dissertation so fucking long isn’t the actual process of data analysis and writing. That part is relatively easy. It’s the learning. I’m going to write a full post on this later, but the dissertation process is simply an alternative way of learning something – different from taking a class, kind of akin to taking comprehensive exams. It’s struggling through the shit you don’t know that takes the longest amount of time.)