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