Learning more about SAS


A student in my Introduction to SAS class (MEDB 5507) asked a question that was difficult to answer, but also important to answer. The student wanted to know “a good resource to take the SAS skill one level up once we are done with our course.” The reason the question is hard to answer is that there are so many excellent resources out there already.

A good starting point would be the book that was recommended but not required for this course, The Little SAS Book, A Primer by Lora Delwich and Susan Slaughter. The second author describes what is in the sixth (!) edition of this book in a blog post. It reinforces SAS as a programming language that excels in data management.

If there is a particular area of Statistics you are interested in, there is probably a book that helps you get started in that area with SAS. Let me note two books in particular.

Survival Analysis Using SASĀ®: A Practical Guide, by Paul D. Allison is in its second edition. You can purchase this book directly from SAS Publications or from other major online bookstores. You can even read the first chapter for free. I’ve used this book in an online course I teach about Survival Analysis. It has excellent examples with real datasets and well documented SAS code.

I have not read SASĀ® for Mixed Models: Introduction and Basic Applications, by Walter W. Stroup, George A. Milliken, Elizabeth A. Claassen, Russell D. Wolfinger. All of the authors have an outstanding reputation in the Statistics community, so the book must be good. You can purchase this book from SAS Publications or other online bookstores. This book also has an excerpt, 42 pages for free.

There used to be a good SAS Users Group in the Kansas City area, and there may be a move to revive it. SAS sponsors many regional, national, and international conferences on SAS, but I can’t recommend these wholeheartedly because they tend to focus too much on other products from SAS Institute like Viya. You can still pick and choose and get some good material.

Many of the SAS conferences provide well written pdf articles based on the presentations. These are not reproductions of the Powerpoint slides, but nicely laid out full text articles with bibliographies. You will often find these papers on a Google search, but there is an unofficial site that tries to organize them.

SAS includes all its documentation for free. It is well written and has lots of good examples. Pick a procedure–I’d recommend proc glm–and do a Google search. You’ll find documentation from several different versions of SAS (here’s an html file with hyperlinks and here’s a 196 page pdf). Don’t worry so much about which version, as SAS is a very stable language and you won’t notice any differences unless you are running something quite exotic and specialized.

Finally, my obigation to you does not end when this class ends. If you are ever in need of advice about SAS, come and talk to me.