It depends on:
- whether you are doing an ad hoc analysis or creating a final report that many people will see
- whether you will run statistical tests with your data or if you just want to see it
- your level of comfort and if you already have working code
Most of my work involves creating final reports that will be distributed to many users. I am a PROC REPORT specialist, so 90% of the time, I use PROC REPORT to create these reports.
Here is why:
PROC REPORT versus PROC MEANS/PROC SUMMARY
PROC MEANS is a wonderful, powerful procedure in its own right. It is an excellent tool for creating data sets of statistics that get fed into DATA steps or other procedures. I use PROC MEANS extensively, but not as my final reporting procedure.
PROC MEANS can’t:
- give me percentages
- do traffic lighting
- add, subtract, multiply, or divide two variables
- create new variables
PROC MEANS can give you an overall total and a total for CLASS and BY variables, but so can PROC REPORT.
PROC REPORT versus PROC FREQ
PROC FREQ is really good at creating a small data set of counts that I can use later. It is a very quick way of calculating percentages, which might be easier than trying to calculate them in PROC REPORT. However, starting with PROC REPORT is better for me, just in case I am asked to make changes to the final output and the changes require something that PROC FREQ can’t do.
PROC FREQ does not:
- support the STYLE option, so I can’t apply traffic lighting
- calculate simple statistics, like median or mean
- add informative text