[R] read.spss defaults

Thomas Lumley tlumley at u.washington.edu
Wed Feb 25 19:09:37 CET 2004

On Wed, 25 Feb 2004, Robert W. Baer, Ph.D. wrote:

> The read.spss parameter defaults are:
>    use.value.labels=TRUE,
>    to.data.frame=FALSE,
> Is there some reasoning other than historical for this choice?  In most
> instances, it seems that the opposite default choice
> (use.value.labels=FALSE, to.data.frame=TRUE,) would better preserve any
> existing structure of the underlying SPSS dataset as it is imported in to R.
> I feel especially strongly about the to.data.frame=TRUE being the desirable
> default given the central role of data frames in R.

I think the reason for to.data.frame=FALSE is that for a large dataset the
conversion to data frame takes a lot longer than the reading.

In particular, if you want to use just a subset of variables it will be
quicker to subset before you construct the data frame.


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