A plan file contains complex sample specifications. There are two types of plan files:
Sampling plan. The specifications given in the Sampling Wizard define a sample design that is used to draw a complex sample. The sampling plan file contains those specifications. The sampling plan file also contains a default analysis plan that uses estimation methods suitable for the specified sample design.
Analysis plan. This plan file contains information needed by Complex Samples analysis procedures to properly compute variance estimates for a complex sample. The plan includes the sample structure, estimation methods for each stage, and references to required variables, such as sample weights. The Analysis Preparation Wizard allows you to create and edit analysis plans.
There are several advantages to saving your specifications in a plan file, including:
- A surveyor can specify the first stage of a multistage sampling plan and draw first-stage units now, collect information on sampling units for the second stage, and then modify the sampling plan to include the second stage.
- An analyst who doesn't have access to the sampling plan file can specify an analysis plan and refer to that plan from each Complex Samples analysis procedure.
- A designer of large-scale public use samples can publish the sampling plan file, which simplifies the instructions for analysts and avoids the need for each analyst to specify his or her own analysis plans.