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PROC DOC III: Self-generating Codebooks Using SAS®

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Author: Louise Hadden, Abt Associates Inc.


This paper will demonstrate how to use good documentation practices and SAS® to easily produce attractive, camera-ready data codebooks (and accompanying materials such as label statements, format assignment statements, etc.) Four primary steps in the codebook production process will be explored: use of SAS metadata to produce a master documentation spreadsheet for a file; review and modification of the master documentation spreadsheet; import and manipulation of the metadata in the master documentation spreadsheet to self-generate code to be included to generate a codebook; and use of the documentation metadata to self-generate other helpful code such as label statements. Full code for the example shown (using the SASHELP.HEART data base) will be provided upon request.

The most onerous task any SAS programming professional faces is to accurately document files and processes. The truth is that there are no easy answers to the documentation quandary. It takes hard, painstaking work! By setting careful standards at the outset of a programming task, documenting your processes, labelling your data files and variables, providing value labels (formats) for your variables when appropriate, and using the many tools the SAS® system provides to assist in the documentation process, producing codebooks can be a piece of cake.

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