Before classes started in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration, UNL doctoral students were getting a head start on learning software critical to improving their research and data collection skills. Led by Dr. Thomas Omer, professor and Delmar Lienemann Sr. Chair of Accounting, the group took part in the annual Ph.D. graduate student SAS/STATA camp.
Open to all students enrolled in a Ph.D. program at UNL, the three-day camp is offered at no charge. Omer, who leads the Ph.D. program in accounting, has offered the camp four times over the last three years.
“It is imperative,” Omer said of Ph.D. students understanding the software. “While the major portion of the work is telling a compelling story, the analysis and methodology must be consistent to provide support.”
SAS is an acronym for Statistical Analysis System, a software developed for advanced analytics, multivariate analyses, business intelligence, data management and predictive analytics. STATA is a combination of the words “statistic” and “data”. The STATA software is especially used by researchers in the fields of economics, sociology, political science and biomedicine.
“Knowing how to use SAS and STATA is important for the Ph.D. students who are interested in empirical research, as they are very powerful tools for data management and analyses, and it is also is important because Ph.D. students work for the faculty as research assistants,” said Daun Jang, a second-year Ph.D. student in accounting from Daegu, South Korea. “As a Ph.D. student, getting some sense of how SAS and STATA work in the beginning of my first year in the SAS camp was very beneficial for me even though I did not perfectly understand or follow everything. This first step was important for me to take the next steps as I do research for the faculty as a research assistant and do my own research in the Ph.D. program.”
Two of the primary analysis programs used in CBA, SAS and STATA are critical for Ph.D. students to use to complete papers that have the potential for publication. In the modern academic world, Omer said, the ability to use the programs efficiently will give students a strong start.
“Ph.D. students now are expected to have much more in the way of completed research projects or publications in addition to their dissertation when they leave the program,” Omer said. “This provides assistance for accomplishing that goal.”