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Ask HN: What are some best resources for learning R?
8 points by xijuan 428 days ago | comments
I will be starting graduate school this year September for quantitative psychology program. I really need to learn R to be able to conduct the research. My undergraduate degree is just psychology so I don't have too much background in programming although I did learn basic R in several statistics courses in psychology. Please let me know any tip or resource for learning R.


houshuang 428 days ago | link

I'll be following this post, since I'm in the same situation (well, in the middle of a graduate program, having done quant classes with SPSS, which I could never grow to like, and now discovering and learning R for my research). There's a lot of great free resources out there - I've been going on a bit of a resource hunt, and gathered lots of links here: http://reganmian.net/wiki/R. Totally unsorted dump at the moment, I'll eventually sort through it, but might still be useful.

Yesterday I spent the whole day watching a Google tech talk by Hadley Wiggins (creator of GGPlot) talking about exploratory data analysis with ggplot and plyr, and replicating every single step in RStudio with RMarkdown (mix of code and text). I played with every single line, took arguments apart, tried out variations, until I understand what each piece did.

Here are my notes: http://rpubs.com/houshuang/ggplot-notes (RStudio makes it ridiculously easy to publish these kinds of documents online). There's a link to the talk, and the data, there too.

One thing I'm looking for is more information about doing survey analysis - I'd love to see a detailed walkthrough (like the file I posted) of someone designing a survey with Likert items, pilot-testing Likert items and generating scales, importing the whole survey with codebook, testing validity of the scales, doing some analysis of findings etc. I've found bits and pieces, but never a complete walk-through.

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xijuan 428 days ago | link

Hey! You are at U of T! I am from UBC. I have taken few grad level psych stats courses already. I have learned how to conduct basic regression, factor analysis using R. If you have questions about doing basic survey analysis using R, maybe I can help you out a bit. My contact information is in my profile! But for my own research, doing basic analysis in R probably won't be enough..I want to know more about how to write functions in R, etc.

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houshuang 428 days ago | link

I've found walk-throughs generated using knitr to be incredibly useful - they show you the commands, and the graphs/tables they generate, they often walk through in small steps so you can follow along, and you also get exposed to a bit of the thinking behind - how to approach analysing different data sets.

My friend just posted this analysis of school board data: http://rpubs.com/dirkchen/knaer-tdsb. RPubs is awesome, you can also browse the front page http://rpubs.com, since all documents are public. Lot's to learn here.

Two things that would make this easier: One is some more social features on the site, like tagging and voting up (show me examples with scatterplots, etc). It would also be great if there was an option to upload the Rmd sheet, as well as the data files when publishing. Of course, some people publish their entire projects to GitHub, but if it was a lot more convenient, perhaps more people would share - one-button import into your own RStudio, for your own experimentation, would be awesome.

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jyu 428 days ago | link

I'm currently learning R for the first time in Data Analysis on Coursera. It's great because you are doing things in R to achieve a data analysis goal.

It names several resources for getting R help.

https://d19vezwu8eufl6.cloudfront.net/dataanalysis/gettingHe...

Keep in mind, the fastest answer is usually the one you find yourself. Try to search around on google, wikipedia, stackoverflow first. If you're still not sure, ask a question to the R mailing list or Stackoverflow. If it's a Data Analysis / Statistics question, ask on CrossValidated.

If you're not sure how to do something in R, check the R libraries first with something like "how to do binomial dist in R". If you know the function you want to call, but don't know how it works, do "?functionName" and "args('functionName')".

Here's an R cheatsheet: http://cran.r-project.org/doc/contrib/Short-refcard.pdf

Good luck!

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aburan28 428 days ago | link

I found the O'Reilly/CodeSchool "Try R" tool to learn R the best because you learn it by using it in a interactive manner http://tryr.codeschool.com/

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xijuan 428 days ago | link

I just founded that as well!! And I just started going through it today!

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