Circular statistics in Stata, revisited
Circular data are a large class of directional data, which are of interest to scientists in many fields, including biologists (movements of migrating animals), meteorologists (winds), geologists (directions of joints and faults), and geomorphologists (landforms, oriented stones). These examples are all recordable as compass bearings relative to North. Other examples include phenomena that are periodic in time, including those dependent on time of day (in biomedical statistics: hospital visits or times of birth) or time of year (in applied economics: unemployment or sales variations). The analysis of circular data is an odd corner of statistical science that many never visit, even though it has a long and curious history. Moreover, it seems that no major statistical language provides direct support for circular statistics. This talk describes the development and use of some routines that have been written in Stata, primarily to allow graphical and exploratory analyses. In 2004, such routines are being rewritten, especially to allow use of the new graphics of Stata 8.
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