Tips and Tricks for Getting Started with R

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All statistical software have a learning curve, and compared to SPSS, R has taken me more time to learn the basics. However, since learning the basics, R seems easier to use than SPSS.

Here are 10 tips and tricks (and some resources) I found helpful for getting started with R:

  1. Use RStudio, a separate interface that is installed along with R that makes it easier to use.
  2. Learn the basics with Swirl, a tutorial built into the software.
  3. Work with datasets with Data Analysis with R, a Udacity massive open online course.
  4. Discovering Statistics Using R, a book that introduces the basics as well as strategies from comparing means to hierarchical linear models.
  5. Type “data()” into the console to view the datasets already loaded in R and use these to get started.
  6. Enter data into R by saving files from Excel, SPSS or other software as a comma separated values (.csv) file.
  7. Learn how to specify what to do with missing data if there are any, otherwise commands will mysteriously not work.
  8. Search Stack Overflow when something is not working
  9. Use Markdown to write and easily share syntax
  10. Find others using R and ask them questions (thanks Andrea, Alex and others)

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