August 8–10. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Sponsored by:


ASA Sections on Statistical Graphics and Computing


An Introduction to the Fundamentals & Functionality of the R Language

Theresa A. Scott, Vanderbilt University

In this course, we will introduce R, the free interactive programming language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. We will emphasize the fundamentals and functionality of the language, not statistical concepts and techniques. The course will be divided into four sections: (1) an overview of some language essentials; (2) data manipulation; (3) descriptive statistics; and (4) graphics.

In addition to demonstrating how to use R interactively, the language essentials section will introduce assignment, data types and structures, functions, and related topics including vectorization of functions, and R as an object-oriented programming language. In the last three sections, learning objectives will include how to (1) read in a standard data set from a file; (2) modify the variables of a data set; (3) manipulate data sets; (4) calculate appropriate descriptive statistics of both continuous and categorical data; and (5) incorporate various graphical functions and parameters to generate highly customized graphs.

The course notes will also include a compendium of additional R functions and topics that will not be discussed. This course is intended for anyone interested in learning the basics of R – both brand new and current users. No prior experience is necessary, but basic programming knowledge is helpful.