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How to ask a question on SAS-L

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Herewith some notes on getting answers faster, from SAS-L.

Provide Test Data

data Test;
    infile cards;
    input Var1 $ 
          Var2 $ 
value1.1 value2.1 0.1
value1.2 value2.2 1.2

proc sql;
    describe table &SysLast.;

See Preparing Sample Data for SAS-L

Documentation, Documentation, Documentation


  • Hierarchical:
  • Input: Where does the data come from?
  • Output: What do you want?
  • Process: What are you thinking you have to do to get this output?


What's your job description? We need to know where you are coming from and what vocabulary you use.

  1. SAS: data sets have observations and variables
  2. Database: tables have rows and columns,
    1. rows are identified by: Sequence Number
    2. Primary Key: what column uniquely identifies the row?
    3. Primary Key, composite: what combination of columns uniquely identifies the row?
    4. Foreign Keys: what columns contain keys to primary key in another table?
    5. Facts: otherwise known as The Data

Problem Statement

  • What do you think you want to do? See Output, above.
  • Constraints: effort, money, time?

Also known as The Hard Choices: accurate, cheap, or fast.

  • Why do you think you have to do it Your Way?


You are requesting help from unpaid volunteers.

  • Do not assume that you can carry on a private correspondence with anyone who answers your Q.
  • Do not assume that code provided works; Testing is up to you.
  • Say thanks, every once in a while; especially when you meet answerers in person.


--macro maven == the radical programmer 10:32, 7 December 2007 (EST)