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). Such examples are all recordable as compass bearings relative to North. Other examples include phenomena that are periodic in time, including daily and seasonal rhythms. The analysis of circular data is an odd corner of statistical science which many never visit, even though it has a long and curious history. Perhaps for that reason, it seems that no major statistical language provides direct support for circular statistics, although there is a commercially available special-purpose program called Oriana. This paper describes the development and use of some routines which have been written in Stata, primarily to allow graphical and exploratory analyses. They include commands for data management, summary statistics and significance tests, univariate graphics and bivariate relationships. The graphics routines were developed partly with -gph-. (By the time of the meeting, it may be possible to enhance these using new facilities in Stata 7.) Collectively they offer about as many facilities as does Oriana.
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