F&ES 720a Introduction to R

T & Th, Sage 24, 11:30 am – 12.50 pm

Lecturer: Simon Queenborough

TF: Andrew Muehleisen

This seminar provides an overview and introduction to the statistical software R for the analysis and graphical presentation of natural and social science data.

What is R?

R is a free open-source software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It is widely used by statisticians, biologists, economists, social scientists, . . .

Why should I learn R?

The course will provide the practical skills in R to analyse data and produce publication quality-figures and tables. Some details are specific to R. However, the principles of programming, writing code, command line interface, and collection, storage, analysis and display of data are all transferable skills that will be useful in any software.

Course prerequisites

The course assumes no prior knowledge of R, programming, or the command line interface. However, this course does not teach statistics: Understanding of basic statistics and common statistical tests and analyses is assumed.

Teaching and learning style

Class time will primarily be used for working through exam- ples and problems as a class or individually. The best way to improve in R is to use it fre- quently and regularly. Advanced topics will be selected later in the course.


The course will be assessed via weekly quizes (30%), two take-home exams (30%) and two mini data projects (40%). Quizes and exams assess student comprehen- sion and understanding. Projects will analyze your own (or other available) data.

Course content: www.simonqueenborough.info/R/intro/index.html

First steps …

First, read this New York Times article.

Second, watch these online videos: here, and Parts - 1, - 2, - 3, and - 4.


… And get ready for some gRRRReat fun!