11 Data Analysis in R
11.1 Introduction to Data Analysis in R
R, a powerful and versatile programming language, has become a cornerstone tool for statistical analysis across various disciplines, including mass communications research. Its comprehensive ecosystem, featuring an extensive array of packages and functions for data manipulation, analysis, and visualization, makes it an invaluable asset for researchers looking to glean insights from complex datasets. This section highlights the significance of R in the field of mass communications research and provides an overview of the types of statistical analyses commonly conducted within this dynamic field.
The Significance of R in Statistical Analysis for Mass Communications Research
Flexibility and Power: R’s opensource nature allows for constant expansion and customization, offering tools that cater to a wide range of data analysis needs—from basic descriptive statistics to advanced machine learning algorithms. This flexibility is particularly beneficial in mass communications research, where evolving media landscapes and digital platforms continuously shape new areas of inquiry.
Reproducibility and Transparency: R facilitates reproducible research practices through scriptbased analysis, enabling researchers to document their data processing and analysis steps comprehensively. This transparency is crucial for validating findings and building upon previous work within the scholarly community.
Community and Resources: The global R community, including academics, industry professionals, and hobbyists, contributes to a rich repository of resources such as tutorials, forums, and special interest groups. This vibrant community supports mass communications researchers by providing guidance, sharing knowledge, and developing new tools tailored to emerging research needs.
Overview of the Types of Statistical Analyses Commonly Conducted in Mass Communications
Descriptive Statistics: Fundamental to any research project, descriptive statistics summarize and describe the basic features of a dataset, providing simple summaries about the sample and measures. In mass communications, descriptive analyses can reveal patterns in media consumption, audience demographics, and content characteristics.
Inferential Statistics: Inferential statistics allow researchers to make predictions or inferences about a population based on a sample of data. Techniques such as ttests, ANOVAs, and regression analyses are commonly employed to explore relationships between variables, such as the impact of specific media messages on audience perceptions or behaviors.
Content Analysis: R provides tools for both quantitative and qualitative content analysis, enabling researchers to systematically categorize and analyze the content of media messages. Packages like
tm
(for text mining) andwordcloud
facilitate the examination of themes, sentiment, and frequency of terms within textual data.Network Analysis: With the rise of digital media and social networks, network analysis has become increasingly important in mass communications research. R packages such as
igraph
andnetwork
allow researchers to analyze and visualize the complex relationships and structures within social media networks.Time Series Analysis: For studies examining changes over time, such as trends in media coverage or audience engagement, time series analysis is a vital tool. R’s
forecast
package, among others, provides functions for analyzing temporal data, forecasting future trends, and identifying seasonal patterns.
By leveraging R for statistical analysis, mass communications researchers can navigate the complexities of modern media landscapes with precision and depth. The ability to conduct a wide range of analyses—from exploring basic trends to modeling intricate relationships—empowers researchers to uncover nuanced insights into how media shapes and reflects society, driving forward the field of mass communications research.
11.2 Descriptive Analysis
Descriptive statistics form the bedrock of data exploration and initial data analysis. Descriptive analysis plays a pivotal role in data analysis by concisely summarizing the key characteristics of a dataset. It involves calculating various statistics to present a snapshot of the data, enabling researchers to understand its basic structure and form. These statistics facilitate the comprehensive summarization, condensation, and general understanding of the structural attributes of expansive datasets. Employed as a precursor to more advanced statistical procedures, descriptive statistics offer a straightforward way to describe the main aspects of a data set, from the typical values to the variability within the set. They provide researchers with tools to quickly identify patterns, trends, and potential outliers without making generalized predictions about larger populations. Furthermore, descriptive statistics are essential in exploratory data analysis, where their role is to aid in the detection of any unusual observations that may warrant further investigation.
Moreover, descriptive statistics have applications that span across various domains—from social sciences to economics, from healthcare to engineering. The utility lies in their ability to translate large amounts of data into easily understandable formats, such as graphs, tables, and numerical measures, thereby transforming raw data into insightful information. In research, they often serve as the initial step in the process of data analytics, giving researchers a snapshot of what the data looks like before delving into more complex analytical techniques like inferential statistics or machine learning algorithms.
If a researcher’s interest lies in examining how variables change together without intending to make predictive inferences, they should utilize descriptive correlational analysis. This type of analysis explores the relationship between variables using correlation coefficients, without extending to prediction.
Measures of Central Tendency
To capture the central tendency or the “average” experience within a set of data, calculating the mean is most appropriate. The mean provides a single value summarizing the central point of a dataset’s distribution.
Load data
# Load the packages
library(tidyverse)
library(data.table)
options(scipen=999)
# Import the datasets
spotify_songs < fread("https://raw.githubusercontent.com/rfordatascience/tidytuesday/master/data/2020/20200121/spotify_songs.csv")
movies < fread("https://raw.githubusercontent.com/rfordatascience/tidytuesday/master/data/2021/20210309/movies.csv")
Mean
The mean is perhaps the most widely recognized measure of central tendency, representing the arithmetic average of a dataset. In descriptive analysis, the mean serves as a fundamental measure, providing an average value that represents the central tendency of a dataset. This average is calculated by summing all observations and dividing by the number of observations. The mean is sensitive to outliers, which can disproportionately influence the calculated average, potentially resulting in a misleading representation of central location (McClave, Benson, & Sincich, 2011). Despite this limitation, the mean is highly useful in various statistical methods, including regression analysis and hypothesis testing, because of its mathematical properties (Field, Miles, & Field, 2012).
Importantly, the mean can be categorized into different types: arithmetic mean, geometric mean, and harmonic mean, each with specific applications depending on the nature of the data and the intended analysis (Triola, 2018). For instance, the geometric mean is often used when dealing with data that exhibit exponential growth or decline, such as in financial or biological contexts.
Descriptive statistics are most commonly paired with visualizations to provide clarity. For example, a scatterplot is an invaluable tool in descriptive analysis when the objective is to illustrate the relationship or correlation between two variables. It visually represents the data points for each observed pair, facilitating the detection of patterns or relationships.
Example using Spotify Songs Dataset: To find the mean popularity of songs.
The R code provided demonstrates the use of the dplyr
package and base R functions to calculate the mean popularity of tracks in the spotify_songs
dataset. Let’s break down the code and its output:
 dplyr summarise function:
mean_popularity < spotify_songs %>%
summarise(mean_popularity = mean(track_popularity, na.rm = TRUE))
This snippet uses the dplyr
package’s summarise
function to calculate the mean of the track_popularity
variable in the spotify_songs
dataframe. The mean
function is used with the na.rm = TRUE
argument, which means that it will ignore NA
(missing) values in the calculation. The result is stored in a new dataframe mean_popularity
.
 Output Explanation:
mean_popularity
This output indicates that the mean popularity score of the tracks in the dataset is approximately 42.47708. The <dbl>
notation suggests that the mean popularity score is a doubleprecision floatingpoint number, which is a common way of representing decimal numbers in R.
In summary, both methods are used to calculate the average popularity score of tracks in the spotify_songs
dataset. The output shows the mean value as approximately 42.47708, reflecting the average popularity of the tracks in the dataset. The use of dplyr
and base R functions provides a means to crossvalidate the result for accuracy.
Median
The median serves as another measure of central tendency and is less sensitive to outliers compared to the mean. It is defined as the middle value in a dataset that has been arranged in ascending order. If the dataset contains an even number of observations, the median is calculated as the average of the two middle numbers. Medians are particularly useful for data that are skewed or contain outliers, as they provide a more “resistant” measure of the data’s central location.
In addition to its robustness against outliers, the median is often used in nonparametric statistical tests like the MannWhitney U test and the KruskalWallis test. These tests do not assume that the data follow a specific distribution, making the median an invaluable asset in such scenarios (Siegel & Castellan, 1988).
Example using Movies Dataset: To find the median budget of movies.
The provided R code calculates the median budget of movies in the movies
dataset, with two different approaches, and the results are displayed. Let’s analyze the code and its outputs:
 Using dplyr’s summarise function:
This snippet uses the dplyr
package’s summarise
function to compute the median of the budget
variable in the movies
dataframe. Before calculating the median, each budget value is divided by 1,000,000 (budget/1000000
), effectively converting the budget values from (presumably) dollars to millions of dollars. The na.rm = TRUE
argument in the median
function indicates that any NA
(missing) values should be ignored in the calculation. The result is stored in a new dataframe called median_budget
.
 Output Explanation:
median_budget
This indicates that the median budget of the movies, in millions of dollars, is 28. The <dbl>
notation signifies that the median budget is a doubleprecision floatingpoint number.
In conclusion, both methods are used to calculate the median budget of movies in the dataset, and both approaches confirm that the median budget is 28 million dollars. The use of both dplyr
and base R functions serves as a crossverification to ensure the accuracy of the result.
Mode
The mode refers to the value or values that appear most frequently in a dataset. A dataset can be unimodal, having one mode; bimodal, having two modes; or multimodal, having multiple modes. While the mode is less commonly used than the mean and median for numerical data, it is the primary measure of central tendency for categorical or nominal data.
Despite its less frequent application in numerical contexts, the mode can still be useful for identifying the most common values in a dataset and for understanding the general distribution of the data. For example, in market research, knowing the mode of a dataset related to consumer preferences can provide valuable insights into what most consumers are likely to choose.
Example using Spotify Songs Dataset: To find the mode of the playlist_genre
.
The provided R code calculates the mode of the playlist_genre
variable in the spotify_songs
dataset using the Mode
function from the DescTools
package. The mode is the value that appears most frequently in a dataset. Let’s break down the code and its output:
 Using the DescTools package’s Mode function:
This snippet uses the Mode
function from the DescTools
package to find the most frequently occurring genre in the playlist_genre
column of the spotify_songs
dataset. The result is stored in the variable mode_genre
.
 Output Explanation:
mode_genre
This output indicates that the most common genre (mode) in the playlist_genre
column is “edm”. The attr(,"freq")
part shows the frequency of this mode, which is 6043. This means that “edm” appears 6043 times in the playlist_genre
column, more than any other genre.
In summary, the code calculates and displays the mode of the playlist_genre
variable in the spotify_songs
dataset, indicating that the most common genre is “edm”, which appears 6043 times. The consistency of the results from both methods demonstrates the reliability of the calculation.
Measures of Dispersion
Range
The range is the simplest measure of dispersion, calculated by subtracting the smallest value from the largest value in the dataset. While straightforward to compute, the range is highly sensitive to outliers and does not account for how the rest of the values in the dataset are distributed.
The range offers a quick, albeit crude, estimate of the dataset’s variability. It is often used in conjunction with other measures of dispersion for a more comprehensive understanding of data spread. Despite its limitations, the range can be helpful in initial exploratory analyses to quickly identify the scope of the data and to detect possible outliers or data entry errors.
Example using Movies Dataset: To find the range of movie budgets.
The R code provided calculates the range of the budget
column in the movies
dataset using the dplyr
package. The range is a measure of dispersion that represents the difference between the maximum and minimum values in a dataset. Here’s a breakdown of the code and its output:
 Code Explanation:
budget_range < movies %>%
summarise(Range = max(budget/1000000,
na.rm = TRUE)  min(budget/1000000,
na.rm = TRUE))
movies %>%
: This part indicates that the code is using themovies
dataframe and piping (%>%
) it into subsequent operations.summarise(Range = ...)
: Thesummarise
function from thedplyr
package is used to compute a summary statistic. Here, it’s creating a new variable namedRange
.
max(budget/1000000, na.rm = TRUE)  min(budget/1000000, na.rm = TRUE)
: This calculates the range of the movie budgets. Eachbudget
value is first divided by 1,000,000 (presumably converting the budget from dollars to millions of dollars). Themax
function finds the maximum value andmin
finds the minimum value, withna.rm = TRUE
indicating that anyNA
(missing) values should be ignored. The range is the difference between these two values.Output Explanation:
budget_range
 The output shows that the calculated range of the movie budgets, in millions of dollars, is approximately 424.993. This means that the largest budget in the dataset exceeds the smallest budget by about 424.993 million dollars.
 The
<dbl>
notation indicates that the calculated range is a doubleprecision floatingpoint number, a standard numeric type in R for representing decimal values.
In summary, the code calculates the range of movie budgets in the movies
dataset and finds that the budgets span approximately 424.993 million dollars, from the smallest to the largest. This provides a sense of how varied the movie budgets are in the dataset.
Standard Deviation
The standard deviation is a more sophisticated measure of dispersion that indicates how much individual data points deviate from the mean (Lind et al., 2012). Standard deviation is a measure in descriptive analysis that quantifies the variation or dispersion of a set of data values. It reflects how much individual data points differ from the mean, indicating the dataset’s spread. Calculated as the square root of the variance, the standard deviation provides an intuitive sense of the data’s spread since it is in the same unit as the original data points. It plays a crucial role in various statistical analyses, including hypothesis testing and confidence interval estimation, and is fundamental in fields ranging from finance to natural sciences.
The standard deviation can be classified into two types: population standard deviation and sample standard deviation. The former is used when the data represent an entire population, while the latter is used for sample data and is calculated with a slight adjustment to account for sample bias (Kenney & Keeping, 1962).
Example using Spotify Songs Dataset: To find the standard deviation of danceability
.
The R code you’ve provided calculates the standard deviation of the danceability
variable in the spotify_songs
dataset using the dplyr
package. Let’s break down the code and its output:
 Code Explanation:

spotify_songs %>%
: This part uses thespotify_songs
dataframe and pipes it into the subsequent operation using%>%
. 
summarise(std_danceability = ...)
: Thesummarise
function fromdplyr
is used to compute a summary statistic. Here, it’s creating a new variable namedstd_danceability
. 
sd(danceability, na.rm = TRUE)
: This calculates the standard deviation of thedanceability
variable. Thesd
function computes the standard deviation, andna.rm = TRUE
indicates that anyNA
(missing) values should be ignored in the calculation.
 Output Explanation:
std_danceability
 The output shows that the calculated standard deviation of the
danceability
scores in thespotify_songs
dataset is approximately 0.1450853.  The
<dbl>
notation indicates that the result is a doubleprecision floatingpoint number, which is typical for numeric calculations in R.
The standard deviation is a measure of the amount of variation or dispersion in a set of values. A low standard deviation indicates that the values tend to be close to the mean (also called the expected value) of the set, while a high standard deviation indicates that the values are spread out over a wider range.
In this case, a standard deviation of approximately 0.1450853 for danceability
suggests that the danceability scores in the spotify_songs
dataset vary moderately around the mean. This gives an idea of the variability in danceability among the songs in the dataset.
Variance
Variance is closely related to the standard deviation, essentially being its square. It quantifies how much individual data points in a dataset differ from the mean (Gravetter & Wallnau, 2016). Unlike the standard deviation, the variance is not in the same unit as the data, which can make it less intuitive to interpret. However, variance has essential mathematical properties that make it useful in statistical modeling and hypothesis testing (Moore, McCabe, & Craig, 2009).
In statistical theory, the concept of variance is pivotal for various analytical techniques, such as Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Variance allows for the decomposition of data into explained and unexplained components, serving as a key element in understanding data variability in greater depth.
Example using Movies Dataset: To find the variance in IMDB ratings.
The R code you’ve shared calculates the variance of the imdb_rating
variable in the movies
dataset using the dplyr
package. Let’s examine the code and its output:
 Code Explanation:

movies %>%
: This line uses themovies
dataframe and pipes it into the following operation with%>%
. 
summarise(var_imdb_rating = ...)
: Thesummarise
function fromdplyr
is employed to compute a summary statistic, in this case, creating a new variable calledvar_imdb_rating
. 
var(imdb_rating, na.rm = TRUE)
: This computes the variance of theimdb_rating
variable. Thevar
function calculates the variance, andna.rm = TRUE
indicates that anyNA
(missing) values should be excluded from the calculation.
 Output Explanation:
var_imdb_rating
 The output indicates that the variance of the IMDb ratings in the
movies
dataset is approximately 0.9269498.  The
<dbl>
notation signifies that the result is a doubleprecision floatingpoint number, which is a standard numeric format in R.
Variance is a statistical measure that describes the spread of numbers in a data set. More specifically, it measures how far each number in the set is from the mean and thus from every other number in the set. In this context, a variance of approximately 0.9269498 in IMDb ratings suggests the degree to which these ratings vary from their average value in the dataset.
This measure of variance can be particularly useful for understanding the consistency of movie ratings; a lower variance would indicate that the ratings are generally close to the mean, suggesting agreement among raters, whereas a higher variance would imply more diverse opinions on movie ratings.
General Summary
There are also a couple methods for getting multiple basic descriptive statistics with a single code. The most common of these is the summary()
function. There is also a package called skimr
.
summary()
The R code snippet you provided uses the summary()
function to generate descriptive statistics for the imdb_rating
variable in the movies
dataset. The summary()
function in R provides a quick, fivenumber summary of the given data along with the count of NA
(missing) values. Let’s break down the output:
summary(movies$imdb_rating)

Min. (Minimum): The smallest value in the
imdb_rating
data. Here, the minimum IMDb rating is 2.10.  1st Qu. (First Quartile): Also known as the lower quartile, it is the median of the lower half of the dataset. This value is 6.20, meaning 25% of the ratings are below this value.
 Median: The middle value when the data is sorted in ascending order. The median IMDb rating is 6.80, indicating that half of the movies have a rating below 6.80 and the other half have a rating above 6.80.

Mean: The average of the
imdb_rating
values. Calculated as the sum of all ratings divided by the number of nonmissing ratings. The mean rating is 6.76.  3rd Qu. (Third Quartile): Also known as the upper quartile, it is the median of the upper half of the dataset. Here, 75% of the movies have a rating below 7.40.

Max. (Maximum): The largest value in the
imdb_rating
data. The highest IMDb rating in the dataset is 9.30. 
NA’s: The number of missing values in the
imdb_rating
data. There are 202 missing values.
This summary provides a comprehensive view of the distribution of IMDb ratings in the movies
dataset, including the central tendency (mean, median), spread (minimum, first quartile, third quartile, maximum), and the count of missing values. It helps in understanding the overall rating landscape of the movies in the dataset.
skimr
The R code snippet provided uses the skim()
function from the skimr
package to generate a summary of the imdb_rating
variable from the movies
dataset. The skimr
package provides a more detailed summary than the base R summary()
function, particularly useful for initial exploratory data analysis.
Let’s break down the output:

Data Summary Section:

Name: Identifies the data being summarized, here
movies$imdb_rating
. 
Number of rows: Indicates the total number of entries in the dataset, which is 1794 for
imdb_rating
. 
Number of columns: The number of variables or columns in the data being skimmed. Since
skim()
is applied to a single column, this is 1.  Column type frequency: Shows the types of data present in the columns. Here, there is 1 numeric column.

Name: Identifies the data being summarized, here

Detailed Statistics Section:
 skim_variable: A character representation of the variable being summarized.

n_missing: The number of missing (
NA
) values in the dataset. Here, there are 202 missing ratings. 
complete_rate: Proportion of nonmissing values. Calculated as
(Total Number of rows  n_missing) / Total Number of rows
. Forimdb_rating
, it’s approximately 0.8874025. 
mean: The average of the
imdb_rating
values, which is 6.760113. 
sd (standard deviation): Measures the amount of variation or dispersion in
imdb_rating
. Here, it is 0.9627823.  p0, p25, p50, p75, p100: These represent the percentiles of the data:
 p0: The minimum value (0th percentile), which is 2.1.
 p25: The 25th percentile, meaning 25% of the data fall below this value, which is 6.2.
 p50: The median or 50th percentile, which is 6.8.
 p75: The 75th percentile, meaning 75% of the data fall below this value, which is 7.4.
 p100: The maximum value (100th percentile), which is 9.3.

hist: A textbased histogram providing a visual representation of the distribution of
imdb_rating
. The characters (▁▁▅▇▂) represent different frequency bins.
In summary, the skim()
function output provides a detailed statistical summary of the imdb_rating
variable, including measures of central tendency, dispersion, and data completeness, along with a visual histogram for quick assessment of the data distribution. This information is crucial for understanding the characteristics of the IMDb ratings in the movies
dataset, especially when preparing for more detailed data analysis.
11.3 Inferential Analysis
Inferential analysis is a cornerstone of statistical research, empowering researchers to draw conclusions and make predictions about a larger population based on the analysis of a representative sample. This process involves statistical models and tests that go beyond the descriptive statistics of the immediate dataset. Unlike descriptive statistics, which aim to summarize data, inferential statistics allow for hypothesis testing, predictions, and inferences about the data (Field, Miles, & Field, 2012). The utility of inferential statistics lies in its ability to generalize findings beyond the immediate data to broader contexts. This is particularly valuable in research areas where it’s impractical to collect data from an entire population (FrankfortNachmias, LeonGuerrero, & Davis, 2020). When a researcher uses sample data to infer characteristics about a larger population, they engage in inferential statistical analysis. This process allows for the generalization of results from the sample to the population, within certain confidence levels.
The application of inferential statistics often involves the use of various tests and models to determine statistical significance, which in turn helps researchers make meaningful inferences. Such analyses are commonly used in disciplines like psychology, economics, and medicine, to name a few. They provide a quantitative basis for conclusions and decisions, which is fundamental for scientific research (Rosner, 2015). Given the capacity to test theories and hypotheses, inferential statistics remain an indispensable tool in the scientific community.
Comparison of Means
Ttest
The Ttest is a statistical method used to determine if there is a significant difference between the means of two groups. It is commonly used to compare two samples to determine if they could have originated from the same population (Rosner, 2015). The Ttest operates under certain assumptions, such as the data being normally distributed and the samples being independent of each other. Violation of these assumptions may lead to misleading results.
Example with movies
dataset:
The provided R code performs a Welch Two Sample ttest to compare the mean budgets of action and drama movies in the movies
dataset. The Welch ttest is used to test the hypothesis that two populations (in this case, action and drama movies) have equal means. This test is appropriate when the two samples have possibly unequal variances.
# Calculate the mean budget for action and drama movies
action_movies < movies %>% filter(genre == 'Action')
drama_movies < movies %>% filter(genre == 'Drama')
# Perform ttest
t.test(action_movies$budget, drama_movies$budget)
Let’s analyze the output:

Test Description:
 Welch Two Sample ttest: Indicates the type of ttest conducted. The Welch test does not assume equal variances across the two samples.

Data Description:

data: Specifies the datasets being compared  the
budget
ofaction_movies
anddrama_movies
.

data: Specifies the datasets being compared  the

Test Statistics:
 t = 1.5346: The calculated tstatistic value. The sign of the tstatistic indicates the direction of the difference between the means (negative here suggests that the mean budget of action movies might be less than that of drama movies).
 df = 1.2327: Degrees of freedom for the test. This value is calculated based on the sample sizes and variances of the two groups and is a key component in determining the critical value for the test.
 pvalue = 0.3325: The probability of observing a test statistic as extreme as, or more extreme than, the observed value under the null hypothesis. A higher pvalue (typically > 0.05) suggests that the observed data is consistent with the null hypothesis, which in this test is that there is no difference in the means of the two groups.

Hypothesis Testing:
 alternative hypothesis: States the hypothesis being tested. Here, it tests if the true difference in means is not equal to 0, which means it’s checking whether the average budgets of action and drama movies are significantly different.
 95 percent confidence interval: This interval estimates the range of the true difference in means between the two groups. It ranges from approximately 76,461,080 to 52,430,636. Since this interval includes 0, it suggests that the difference in means might not be statistically significant.

Sample Estimates:
 mean of x (action movies): The mean budget of action movies, approximately 7,570,000.
 mean of y (drama movies): The mean budget of drama movies, approximately 19,585,222.
In summary, the Welch ttest’s output indicates that there is not a statistically significant difference in the mean budgets of action and drama movies in the dataset, as evidenced by a pvalue greater than 0.05 and a confidence interval that includes 0. The sample estimates provide the average budgets for each movie genre, which can be useful for descriptive purposes.
Independent Sample Ttest
An independent sample Ttest is used when comparing the means of two independent groups to assess whether their means are statistically different (Field et al., 2012). The groups should be separate, meaning the performance or attributes of one group should not influence the other. For instance, this type of Ttest might be used to compare the average test scores of two different classrooms. It’s essential to note that both groups should be normally distributed, and ideally, they should have the same variance for the Ttest to be applicable.
Example with Survivor summary.csv
and viewers.csv
:
The provided R code performs a Welch Two Sample ttest to compare the average viewership (viewers_mean) of TV seasons that took place in Fiji with those that took place in other locations. This test is conducted using data from a summary
dataset.
# Load data
summary < fread("https://raw.githubusercontent.com/rfordatascience/tidytuesday/master/data/2021/20210601/summary.csv")
# Compare average viewers for seasons in different locations
fiji_seasons < summary %>% filter(country == 'Fiji')
other_seasons < summary %>% filter(country != 'Fiji')
# Perform ttest
t.test(fiji_seasons$viewers_mean, other_seasons$viewers_mean)
Let’s analyze the output of this ttest:

Test Description:
 Welch Two Sample ttest: Indicates the type of ttest conducted, which is the Welch ttest. This test is used when comparing the means of two groups that may have unequal variances.

Data Description:

data: Compares the
viewers_mean
offiji_seasons
andother_seasons
. These represent the average viewership for TV seasons based on their filming locations (Fiji vs. other countries).

data: Compares the

Test Statistics:
 t = 4.5307: The calculated tstatistic value. A negative value indicates that the mean of the first group (Fiji seasons) might be less than the mean of the second group (other seasons).
 df = 27.938: Degrees of freedom for the test, a value calculated based on the sample sizes and variances of the two groups.
 pvalue = 0.0001004: The probability of observing a test statistic as extreme as, or more extreme than, the one observed, assuming the null hypothesis is true. A pvalue this low (much less than 0.05) suggests that the observed difference in means is statistically significant.

Hypothesis Testing:
 alternative hypothesis: The hypothesis being tested is that the true difference in means is not equal to 0. In other words, it’s assessing whether the average viewership for seasons in Fiji is significantly different from those in other locations.
 95 percent confidence interval: The interval ranges from approximately 7.667140 to 2.892491. Since this interval does not include 0 and is entirely negative, it suggests a significant difference in means, with the Fiji seasons having lower average viewership.

Sample Estimates:
 mean of x (Fiji seasons): The mean viewership for Fiji seasons, approximately 10.69857.
 mean of y (Other seasons): The mean viewership for seasons in other locations, approximately 15.97839.
In summary, the Welch ttest’s output indicates a statistically significant difference in the average viewership of TV seasons filmed in Fiji compared to those filmed in other locations. The negative tvalue and confidence interval suggest that the seasons filmed in Fiji, on average, have lower viewership than those filmed elsewhere. The low pvalue reinforces this finding, suggesting that the difference in viewership is not just a result of random chance. Confidence intervals provide a range that is likely to contain the population parameter with a specified level of confidence. This range offers a margin of error from the sample estimate, giving a probabilistic assessment of where the true value lies.
Paired Sample Ttest
In contrast, a paired sample Ttest is designed to compare means from the same group at different times or under different conditions (Vasishth & Broe, 2011). For example, it could be used to compare student test scores before and after a training program. Here, the assumption is that the differences between pairs follow a normal distribution. Paired Ttests are particularly useful in “before and after” scenarios, where each subject serves as their control, thereby increasing the test’s sensitivity.
Example with Survivor’s summary.csv
:
The R code provided performs a paired ttest to compare viewership at the premier and finale of TV seasons using the summary
dataset. A paired ttest is appropriate when comparing two sets of related observations — in this case, the viewership of the same TV seasons at two different time points (premier and finale).
# Perform paired ttest to compare viewership at premier and finale
paired_t_test_result < t.test(summary$viewers_premier, summary$viewers_finale, paired = TRUE)
# Output the result
paired_t_test_result
Let’s break down the output:

Test Description:
 Paired ttest: Indicates that a paired ttest is conducted, which is suitable for comparing two related samples or repeated measurements on the same subjects.

Data Description:

data: The test compares
viewers_premier
andviewers_finale
from thesummary
dataset.

data: The test compares

Test Statistics:
 t = 0.76096: The calculated tstatistic value. A negative value suggests that the mean viewership at the premier might be lower than at the finale, but the direction alone does not indicate statistical significance.
 df = 39: Degrees of freedom for the test, indicating the number of independent data points in the paired samples.
 pvalue = 0.4513: The probability of observing a test statistic as extreme as, or more extreme than, the one observed under the null hypothesis (no difference in means). A pvalue greater than 0.05 (common threshold for significance) suggests that the difference in mean viewership is not statistically significant.

Hypothesis Testing:
 alternative hypothesis: The hypothesis being tested is that the true mean difference in viewership between the premier and finale is not equal to 0. In other words, it assesses whether there is a significant difference in viewership between these two time points.
 95 percent confidence interval: Ranges from approximately 2.764596 to 1.253096. Since this interval includes 0, it suggests that the difference in viewership between the premier and finale is not statistically significant.

Sample Estimates:
 mean difference: The mean difference in viewership between the premier and finale, calculated as the mean of the differences for each season. Here, it is 0.75575. However, the confidence interval and pvalue indicate that this difference is not statistically significant.
In summary, the paired ttest output indicates that there is no statistically significant difference in viewership between the premier and finale of the TV seasons in the dataset. The pvalue is above the common threshold for significance (0.05), and the confidence interval includes 0, both suggesting that any observed difference in mean viewership could be due to random chance rather than a systematic difference.
Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
ANOVA is a more generalized form of the Ttest and is used when there are more than two groups to compare (Kutner, Nachtsheim, & Neter, 2004). The underlying principle of ANOVA is to partition the variance within the data into “betweengroup” and “withingroup” variance, to identify any significant differences in means.
Oneway ANOVA
Oneway ANOVA focuses on a single independent variable with more than two levels or groups (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2013). It allows researchers to test if there are statistically significant differences between the means of three or more independent groups. It is widely used in various fields, including psychology, business, and healthcare, for testing the impact of different conditions or treatments.
Example with Survivor castaways.csv
:
The provided R code performs a oneway Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) to test whether there are statistically significant differences in the total votes received by castaways, grouped by their personality types, using data from the castaways
dataset.
castaways < fread("https://raw.githubusercontent.com/rfordatascience/tidytuesday/master/data/2021/20210601/castaways.csv")
# Perform oneway ANOVA for total_votes_received among different personality types
anova_result < aov(total_votes_received ~ personality_type, data = castaways)
summary(anova_result)
Let’s analyze the output of the ANOVA:

ANOVA Summary:

Df (Degrees of Freedom):
 personality_type: 15 — This represents the degrees of freedom for the personality types group. It’s calculated as the number of levels in the group minus one (assuming there are 16 personality types).
 Residuals: 725 — The degrees of freedom for the residuals, which is the number of observations minus the number of groups (here, total number of castaways minus 16).

Sum Sq (Sum of Squares):
 personality_type: 227 — The total variation attributed to the differences in personality type.
 Residuals: 10209 — The total variation that is not attributed to personality types (i.e., withingroup variation).
 Mean Sq (Mean Squares):
 personality_type: 15.14 — This is the variance between the groups (Sum Sq of personality type divided by its Df).
 Residuals: 14.08 — This is the variance within the groups (Sum Sq of residuals divided by its Df).
 F value: 1.075 — The Fstatistic value, calculated as the Mean Sq of personality type divided by the Mean Sq of residuals. It’s a measure of how much the group means differ from the overall mean, relative to the variance within the groups.
 Pr(>F): 0.376 — The pvalue associated with the Fstatistic. It indicates the probability of observing an Fstatistic as large as, or larger than, what was observed, under the assumption that the null hypothesis (no difference in means across groups) is true.

Df (Degrees of Freedom):

Interpreting the Results:
 The pvalue is 0.376, which is greater than the common alpha level of 0.05. This suggests that there is no statistically significant difference in the total votes received among different personality types at the chosen level of significance. In other words, any observed differences in total votes among personality types could likely be due to chance.
 The relatively high pvalue indicates that the null hypothesis (that there are no differences in the mean total votes received among the different personality types) cannot be rejected.

Additional Note:
 The output mentions “3 observations deleted due to missingness.” This indicates that the analysis excluded three cases where data were missing, which is a standard procedure in ANOVA to ensure the accuracy of the test results.
In summary, the oneway ANOVA conducted suggests that personality type does not have a statistically significant impact on the total votes received by castaways in the dataset. This is inferred from the high pvalue and the ANOVA’s failure to reject the null hypothesis.
Twoway ANOVA
Twoway ANOVA, however, involves two independent variables, offering a more intricate comparison and understanding of the interaction effects (Winer, Brown, & Michels, 1991). It helps to analyze how two factors impact a dependent variable, and it can also show how the two independent variables interact with each other. This form of ANOVA is highly valuable in experimental design where multiple variables may influence the outcome.
Example with movies
dataset:
The provided R code performs a twoway Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) on the movies
dataset to test for statistical significance in the differences of movie budgets across different genres and years, and the interaction between these two factors.
# Perform twoway ANOVA for budget by genre and year
anova_result < aov(budget ~ genre * year, data = movies)
summary(anova_result)
Let’s analyze the output:

ANOVA Summary:

Df (Degrees of Freedom): Represents the number of levels in each factor minus one.
 genre: 270 — Degrees of freedom for the genre factor.
 year: 1 — Degrees of freedom for the year factor.

genre:year: 156 — Degrees of freedom for the interaction between genre and year.
 Residuals: 1164 — Degrees of freedom for the residuals (total number of observations minus the sum of the degrees of freedom for each factor and interaction).

Sum Sq (Sum of Squares):
 Indicates the total variation attributed to each factor and their interaction.

Mean Sq (Mean Squares):
 The variance due to each factor and their interaction (Sum Sq divided by Df).

F value:
 The Fstatistic for each factor, calculated as the Mean Sq of the factor divided by the Mean Sq of the residuals. It’s a measure of the effect size.

Pr(>F) (pvalue):
 Indicates the probability of observing an Fstatistic as large as, or larger than, what was observed, under the null hypothesis (no effect).
 genre, year, genre:year: All have very low pvalues, indicated by “***”, suggesting that each factor and their interaction significantly affect movie budgets.

Df (Degrees of Freedom): Represents the number of levels in each factor minus one.

Interpreting the Results:
 Genre: The very low pvalue suggests a statistically significant difference in movie budgets across different genres.
 Year: The very low pvalue indicates a significant difference in movie budgets across different years.
 GenreYear Interaction: The low pvalue for the interaction term suggests that the effect of genre on movie budgets varies by year, meaning different genres might have different budget trends over time.
 Residuals: Represent unexplained variance after accounting for the main effects and interaction.

Significance Codes:
 The “***” next to the pvalues denotes a very high level of statistical significance.

Additional Note:
 “202 observations deleted due to missingness” indicates that the analysis excluded cases with missing data, which is common in ANOVA to maintain accuracy.
In summary, the twoway ANOVA results suggest that both genre and year, and the interaction between them, have statistically significant effects on movie budgets in the dataset. This implies that budget variations are not only dependent on the genre or the year independently but also on how these two factors interact with each other.
Regression Analysis
Simple Linear Regression
Simple linear regression aims to model the relationship between a single independent variable and a dependent variable by fitting a linear equation to observed data (Montgomery, Peck, & Vining, 2012). The primary objective is to find the bestfitting straight line that accurately predicts the output values within a range. Simple linear regression works best when the variables have a linear relationship, and the data is homoscedastic, meaning the variance of errors is constant across levels of the independent variable.
Example with Survivor viewers.csv
:
The provided R code performs a linear regression analysis using the lm()
function to model the relationship between the number of viewers (dependent variable) and episode numbers (independent variable) in a TV series dataset. The summary()
function is then used to provide a detailed summary of the linear model’s results.
viewers < fread("https://raw.githubusercontent.com/rfordatascience/tidytuesday/master/data/2021/20210601/viewers.csv")
# Model viewers based on episode numbers
lm_result < lm(viewers ~ episode, data = viewers)
summary(lm_result)
Let’s break down the output:

Model Call:

lm(formula = viewers ~ episode, data = viewers): This indicates the linear model was fitted to predict
viewers
based onepisode
numbers.

lm(formula = viewers ~ episode, data = viewers): This indicates the linear model was fitted to predict

Residuals:
 The residuals represent the differences between the observed values and the values predicted by the model.
 Min, 1Q (First Quartile), Median, 3Q (Third Quartile), Max: These statistics provide a summary of the distribution of residuals. The relatively large range suggests that there may be considerable variance in how well the model predictions match the actual data.

Coefficients:
 (Intercept): The estimated average number of viewers when the episode number is zero. The intercept is significant (p < 0.0000000000000002).
 episode: The estimated change in the number of viewers for each additional episode. The coefficient is 0.03960, but it is not statistically significant (p = 0.514), suggesting that the number of episodes does not have a significant linear relationship with the number of viewers.
 Std. Error: Measures the variability or uncertainty in the coefficient estimates.
 t value: The test statistic for the hypothesis that each coefficient is different from zero.
 Pr(>t): The pvalue for the test statistic. A low pvalue (< 0.05) would indicate that the coefficient is significantly different from zero.

Residual Standard Error:
 6.283 on 572 degrees of freedom: This is a measure of the typical size of the residuals. The degrees of freedom are the number of observations minus the number of parameters being estimated.

Rsquared Values:
 Multiple Rsquared: 0.0007448: This indicates how much of the variability in the dependent variable (viewers) can be explained by the independent variable (episode). A value close to 0 suggests that the model does not explain much of the variability.
 Adjusted Rsquared: 0.001002: Adjusts the Rsquared value based on the number of predictors in the model. It can be negative if the model has no explanatory power.

Fstatistic:
 0.4263 on 1 and 572 DF, pvalue: 0.5141: This tests whether the model is statistically significant. The high pvalue suggests that the model is not statistically significant, indicating that the episode number does not significantly predict the number of viewers.

Significance Codes:
 The “***” next to the intercept’s pvalue indicates a high level of statistical significance.

Observations with Missing Data:
 (22 observations deleted due to missingness): Indicates that 22 observations were excluded from the analysis due to missing data.
In summary, the linear regression model suggests that the number of episodes is not a significant predictor of the number of viewers, based on the dataset used. The model’s low Rsquared value and the nonsignificant pvalue for the episode coefficient support this conclusion.
Multiple Linear Regression
Multiple linear regression extends the concept of simple linear regression to include two or more independent variables (Hair et al., 2014). This approach allows for a more nuanced understanding of the relationships among variables. It provides the tools needed to predict a dependent variable based on the values of multiple independent variables. Multiple linear regression assumes that the relationship between the dependent variable and the independent variables is linear, and it also assumes that the residuals are normally distributed and have constant variance.
Example with Survivor summary.csv
:
The R code provided performs a multiple linear regression analysis, modeling the average viewership (viewers_mean) as a function of country, timeslot, and season. The summary()
function provides a detailed summary of the model’s results.
# Model average viewers based on multiple factors
lm_result < lm(viewers_mean ~ country + timeslot + season, data = summary)
summary(lm_result)
Let’s break down the output:

Model Call:

lm(formula = viewers_mean ~ country + timeslot + season, data = summary): Shows the regression formula used, predicting
viewers_mean
based oncountry
,timeslot
, andseason
.

lm(formula = viewers_mean ~ country + timeslot + season, data = summary): Shows the regression formula used, predicting

Residuals:
 The residuals represent the differences between the observed and predicted values. The summary (Min, 1st Quartile, Median, 3rd Quartile, Max) shows the distribution of these residuals.

Coefficients:

Estimate: The regression coefficients for the intercept and each predictor. These values represent the expected change in
viewers_mean
for a oneunit change in the predictor, holding all other predictors constant.  Std. Error: The standard error of each coefficient, indicating the precision of the coefficient estimates.
 t value: The test statistic for the hypothesis that each coefficient is different from zero.
 Pr(>t): The pvalue for the test statistic. A low pvalue (< 0.05) indicates that the coefficient is significantly different from zero.
 The coefficients for different countries and the
timeslotWednesday 8:00 pm
are statistically significant, as indicated by their pvalues and significance codes. Theseason
variable is also significant, suggesting its impact on viewership.

Estimate: The regression coefficients for the intercept and each predictor. These values represent the expected change in

Residual Standard Error:
 1.148 on 18 degrees of freedom: This is a measure of the typical size of the residuals. Degrees of freedom are calculated as the total number of observations minus the number of estimated parameters.

Rsquared Values:
 Multiple Rsquared: 0.9758: Indicates the proportion of variance in the dependent variable (viewers_mean) that is predictable from the independent variables. A value of 0.9758 suggests a high level of predictability.
 Adjusted Rsquared: 0.9502: Adjusts the Rsquared value based on the number of predictors in the model. This is closer to the true predictive power of the model.

FStatistic:
 38.18 on 19 and 18 DF, pvalue: 0.00000000008219: This tests the overall significance of the model. The very low pvalue suggests the model as a whole is statistically significant.

Significance Codes:
 Indicate the level of significance for the coefficients. “***” denotes a very high level of statistical significance.

Observations with Missing Data:
 (2 observations deleted due to missingness): Indicates that 2 observations were excluded from the analysis due to missing data.
In summary, the multiple linear regression model suggests that both the country and the season significantly predict the average viewership of the TV series, with the timeslot also playing a significant role (specifically the Wednesday 8:00 pm
timeslot). The model explains a very high proportion of the variance in average viewership (as indicated by the Rsquared values), and the overall model is statistically significant.
11.4 Calculating Effect Sizes in R
Effect sizes are a critical component of statistical analysis, providing a quantitative measure of the magnitude of a phenomenon or the strength of a relationship between variables. In mass communications research and other fields, understanding effect sizes is essential for interpreting the practical significance of study findings, beyond mere statistical significance. This section introduces the concept of effect sizes, discusses how to calculate and interpret different types of effect sizes such as Cohen’s d for ttests and \(r^2\) for variance in regression analysis, and provides practical examples of calculating these measures in R.
Introduction to Effect Sizes and Their Importance in Research
What Are Effect Sizes? Effect sizes measure the magnitude of a relationship or the strength of an effect in a population, based on the data from a sample. They are crucial for understanding the realworld significance of research findings, as they provide a scaleindependent measure of effect magnitude.
Importance of Effect Sizes: While statistical significance tests can indicate whether an effect exists, effect sizes tell us how large that effect is. This is particularly important in fields like mass communications, where the practical implications of research findings often matter more than statistical significance alone.
Calculating and Interpreting Different Effect Sizes
 Cohen’s d for Ttests: Cohen’s d is a measure of effect size used to indicate the standardized difference between two means. It’s commonly used in ttests to compare the means of two groups.
# Calculating Cohen's d
library(effsize)
data < data.frame(group = c(rep("A", 100), rep("B", 100)),
score = c(rnorm(100, mean = 100, sd = 15),
rnorm(100, mean = 110, sd = 15)))
cohen_d < cohen.d(score ~ group, data = data)
print(cohen_d)
 \(r^2\) for Variance in Regression Analysis: \(r^2\), or the coefficient of determination, measures the proportion of variance in the dependent variable that can be predicted from the independent variable(s) in a regression model. It provides insight into the strength of the relationship between your variables.
Practical Examples of Calculating Effect Sizes in R
Example 1: Cohen’s d in Educational Research: Suppose you’re comparing the test scores of students who received a new educational intervention versus those who did not. Calculating Cohen’s d would provide a clear measure of the intervention’s effectiveness.
Example 2: \(r^2\) in Media Studies: If analyzing the relationship between social media usage and political engagement, \(r^2\) from a regression model could quantify how much of the variation in political engagement can be explained by social media usage.
These practical examples underscore the relevance of effect sizes in research. Effect sizes not only augment the interpretation of statistical results but also enhance the communication of findings to both academic and nonacademic audiences. By incorporating effect size calculations into your Rbased data analysis, you can provide a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of your research outcomes, contributing to more informed decisionmaking and policy development in mass communications and beyond.
11.5 Understanding ChiSquare Tests
Chisquare tests are a fundamental statistical tool used to examine the relationships between categorical variables. Particularly relevant in fields like mass communications, where researchers often categorize variables (e.g., media consumption habits, audience demographics), chisquare tests can reveal significant associations or discrepancies between expected and observed frequencies. This section provides an overview of chisquare tests, including their application, conducting these tests in R with practical code examples, and interpreting results, especially within the context of mass communications research.
11.5.1 Background Information on ChiSquare Tests and Their Application
What is a ChiSquare Test? A chisquare test is a nonparametric statistical test used to determine if there is a significant association between two categorical variables. It compares the observed frequencies in each category against the frequencies expected if there were no association between the variables.
Application in Research: In mass communications, chisquare tests can be applied to study the relationship between viewer demographics and program preferences, the distribution of news topics across different media outlets, or the association between social media use and political engagement, among others.
Conducting ChiSquare Tests for Independence in R: Code Examples and Interpretation of Results

Conducting a ChiSquare Test: R’s
chisq.test()
function can be used to perform chisquare tests for independence. Here’s a simple example using a hypothetical dataset that explores the relationship between two categorical variables: media consumption (Television, Social Media) and viewer opinion (Positive, Negative).
# Hypothetical dataset
media_consumption < matrix(c(200, 150, 50, 100), nrow = 2,
dimnames = list(c("Television", "Social Media"),
c("Positive", "Negative")))
# Conducting the chisquare test
chi_square_result < chisq.test(media_consumption)
print(chi_square_result)

Interpretation of Results: The output of
chisq.test()
includes the chisquare statistic, degrees of freedom, and the pvalue. A significant pvalue (typically < 0.05) indicates a statistically significant association between the variables. Additionally, the function provides expected frequencies under the assumption of independence.
# Example output interpretation
# The chisquare statistic is 22.36, with a pvalue of 0.00002.
# This suggests a significant association between media consumption type and viewer opinion.
Discussing Findings from ChiSquare Analyses in the Context of Mass Communications Research
Implications of Findings: In mass communications research, a significant chisquare test result can provide evidence of underlying patterns in media consumption and audience perceptions. For instance, a significant association between media consumption type and viewer opinion might suggest that different media platforms elicit varying degrees of viewer engagement or sentiment.
Contextualizing Results: Discussing chisquare findings requires contextualizing the results within the broader landscape of media studies. Consider the implications for media producers, advertisers, and policymakers. For example, if social media consumption is significantly associated with positive opinions, this might influence strategies for digital marketing or public information campaigns.
Limitations and Further Research: While chisquare tests can reveal associations, they do not indicate causation. Discuss the limitations of your analysis and suggest areas for further research, possibly incorporating more nuanced data or additional variables to explore the causal mechanisms behind observed associations.
Understanding and applying chisquare tests in R empowers mass communications researchers to uncover and analyze patterns in categorical data, contributing to a deeper understanding of media consumption behaviors and audience demographics. By rigorously interpreting and contextualizing these findings, researchers can offer valuable insights that inform both academic discourse and practical applications in the media industry.
11.6 Introduction to Regression Analysis in R
Regression analysis is a powerful statistical method used extensively in mass communications research to understand the relationships between variables. Whether you’re exploring the impact of social media engagement on political participation or analyzing the effect of advertising on consumer behavior, regression analysis can provide deep insights. This section covers the basics of linear and logistic regression, guides you through the steps for conducting regression analysis in R, including checking assumptions and fitting models, and explains how to interpret the regression output.
Background on Regression Analysis: Linear Regression, Logistic Regression
Linear Regression: Linear regression is used to model the relationship between a continuous dependent variable and one or more independent variables. It assumes a linear relationship between the variables. In mass communications, it could be used to predict audience ratings based on the number of promotional activities.
Logistic Regression: Logistic regression is used when the dependent variable is categorical. It models the probability of a certain class or event occurring, such as whether an individual will vote for a particular candidate based on their media consumption habits.
Steps for Conducting Regression Analysis in R
Preparing Your Data: Ensure your data is clean and properly formatted. Variables used in logistic regression need to be binary or categorical.

Checking Assumptions:
 For linear regression, check for linearity, homoscedasticity, independence, and normality.
 For logistic regression, ensure independence of observations and linearity of log odds.

Model Fitting:

Linear Regression: Use the
lm()
function to fit a linear model.

Linear Regression: Use the
linear_model < lm(dependent_variable ~ independent_variable1 + independent_variable2, data = your_data)

Logistic Regression: Use the
glm()
function with the family set tobinomial
to fit a logistic model.
logistic_model < glm(dependent_variable ~ independent_variable1 + independent_variable2, family = binomial, data = your_data)

Model Summary: Use the
summary()
function to get a detailed summary of your model, which includes coefficients, R² (for linear regression), and pvalues.
summary(linear_model)
Interpreting Regression Output: Coefficients, R², Pvalues
Coefficients: The regression coefficients indicate the direction and magnitude of the relationship between each independent variable and the dependent variable. A positive coefficient suggests a positive relationship, while a negative coefficient indicates a negative relationship.
R² (Linear Regression): R² represents the proportion of variance in the dependent variable that is predictable from the independent variables. A higher R² value indicates a better fit of the model to the data.
Pvalues: The pvalue for each coefficient tests the null hypothesis that the coefficient is equal to zero (no effect). A small pvalue (< 0.05) indicates that you can reject the null hypothesis, suggesting a significant relationship between the independent variable and the dependent variable.
Interpreting Logistic Regression Output: In logistic regression, the coefficients are in log odds, which can be converted to odds ratios to better understand the relationship between the variables. An odds ratio greater than 1 indicates an increased likelihood of the event occurring as the independent variable increases.
Practical Example in R
# Fitting a linear regression model
linear_model < lm(rating ~ promotion_activities + media_coverage, data = media_data)
summary(linear_model)
# Fitting a logistic regression model
logistic_model < glm(vote ~ social_media_use + age, family = binomial, data = election_data)
summary(logistic_model)
Regression analysis in R is a cornerstone technique for researchers in mass communications, offering a rigorous method for examining the relationships between variables. By carefully preparing data, checking assumptions, fitting models appropriately, and thoroughly interpreting the output, researchers can draw meaningful conclusions that contribute to our understanding of complex phenomena in the media landscape.
11.7 Statistical Testing in R
Statistical hypothesis testing is a fundamental aspect of empirical research, enabling researchers to make inferences and decisions about populations based on sample data. This process is crucial in mass communications research for validating theories, comparing groups, and establishing relationships between variables. R, with its extensive statistical capabilities, offers a comprehensive environment for conducting a wide range of statistical tests. This section provides an overview of statistical hypothesis testing, guides you through conducting common statistical tests in R, and discusses decisionmaking based on pvalues and confidence intervals.
Overview of Statistical Hypothesis Testing
What is Hypothesis Testing? Hypothesis testing is a method used to determine whether there is enough evidence in a sample of data to infer that a certain condition holds true for the entire population. It starts with the formulation of two hypotheses: the null hypothesis (H0) posits no effect or no difference, and the alternative hypothesis (H1) suggests a significant effect or difference.
Key Concepts: The outcome of a hypothesis test is determined by the pvalue, which indicates the probability of observing the data (or something more extreme) if the null hypothesis were true. Confidence intervals provide a range of values within which the true parameter value is expected to fall with a certain level of confidence (e.g., 95%).
Conducting Common Statistical Tests in R

Ttests (Comparing Means): The ttest is used to compare the means of two groups or a group mean to a known value. In R, the
t.test()
function can be used for onesample, twosample, and paired ttests.
# Twosample ttest
t_test_result < t.test(score ~ group, data = dataset)

ANOVA (Analysis of Variance): ANOVA tests whether there are statistically significant differences between the means of three or more independent groups. The
aov()
function in R facilitates conducting ANOVA tests.

Correlation Tests: Correlation tests measure the strength and direction of the relationship between two continuous variables. The
cor.test()
function in R can be used for Pearson, Spearman, and Kendall correlation tests.
# Pearson correlation test
correlation_result < cor.test(dataset$variable1, dataset$variable2, method = "pearson")
Decisionmaking Based on Pvalues and Confidence Intervals
Interpreting Pvalues: A pvalue less than the chosen significance level (commonly 0.05) indicates that there is sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative hypothesis. A high pvalue suggests retaining the null hypothesis.
Using Confidence Intervals: Confidence intervals provide a range within which the true parameter value is expected to lie. If a confidence interval for a mean difference does not include zero, or for a correlation does not include 1, it suggests a statistically significant effect.
Contextual Decisionmaking: While pvalues and confidence intervals are critical for statistical decisionmaking, they should be interpreted in the context of the research question, study design, and practical significance. In mass communications research, findings should also be considered in light of theoretical implications and realworld impact.
Statistical testing in R equips researchers with powerful tools to explore, confirm, and communicate the findings of their studies. By rigorously applying hypothesis testing procedures and thoughtfully interpreting the results, mass communications scholars can contribute meaningful insights into the complex dynamics of media and communication.
11.8 Comparing R with SPSS
In the field of mass communications research, the choice of statistical analysis software can significantly influence the research process, from data manipulation to the presentation of findings. R and SPSS are two of the most prominent tools used by researchers, each with its unique features and capabilities. This section provides a comparison of R and SPSS, highlighting the advantages of R, especially in terms of customization, reproducibility, and cost. Additionally, it offers practical advice and resources for researchers considering transitioning from SPSS to R.
R versus SPSS in Mass Communications Research
SPSS: SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) is widely recognized for its userfriendly interface, including dropdown menus and dialog boxes for statistical analysis, making it accessible for beginners and nonprogrammers. It is particularly favored in fields that prioritize straightforward data analysis and reporting.
R: R, on the other hand, is an opensource programming language designed for statistical computing and graphics. It offers a flexible and powerful environment for data analysis, capable of handling complex data manipulation, advanced statistical analyses, and highquality graphics.
Advantages of R over SPSS
Customization: R’s opensource nature allows for extensive customization and extension through packages. Researchers can tailor the software to their specific needs, developing custom functions and scripts that can be shared and reused across projects.
Reproducibility: R facilitates reproducible research practices through scriptbased analysis. Scripts can be easily shared, reviewed, and rerun, ensuring that analyses are transparent and can be replicated by others.
Cost: Being opensource, R is freely available, offering a costeffective alternative to SPSS, which requires a commercial license. This makes R particularly attractive for students, academics, and institutions with limited budgets.
Community Support: R benefits from a vibrant and active community. Users can access a wealth of online resources, forums, and usercontributed packages, providing support for a wide range of statistical techniques and research needs.
Transitioning from SPSS to R: Tips and Resources for Learners
Start with R Tutorials: Numerous online tutorials are tailored for SPSS users transitioning to R. These resources often highlight similarities and differences between the two platforms, making the learning curve less steep.
Leverage R Packages for SPSS Users: Packages like
haven
allow for easy import of SPSS files into R, facilitating a smoother transition. Additionally,foreign
andsjPlot
can be helpful for SPSS users adapting to R’s environment.Use RStudio: RStudio, an IDE for R, offers a userfriendly interface that can ease the transition for SPSS users. Its features, such as code autocompletion, debugging tools, and integrated help, enhance the user experience.
Join R Communities: Engaging with the R community through forums such as Stack Overflow, RStudio Community, and social media platforms can provide support, advice, and encouragement as you transition from SPSS to R.
Practice with Real Data: Apply your learning by working on real datasets from your mass communications research. This handson approach accelerates learning and demonstrates R’s capabilities in addressing your specific research needs.
R’s advantages in customization, reproducibility, and cost make it a compelling choice for mass communications researchers. While transitioning from SPSS to R involves a learning curve, the longterm benefits in terms of analytical power, flexibility, and community support are significant. By taking advantage of the wealth of learning resources and engaging with the R community, researchers can effectively navigate this transition, unlocking new possibilities for their data analysis endeavors.
11.9 Interpreting and Discussing Findings
Interpreting and discussing statistical findings are critical steps in the research process, where data are transformed into insights. This is particularly true in mass communications research, where the ability to convey complex statistical results in an understandable and compelling manner can significantly impact the audience’s comprehension and the study’s influence. R, with its extensive capabilities for statistical analysis and data visualization, serves as an invaluable tool in this endeavor. This section outlines best practices for interpreting statistical results, reporting findings in research papers and presentations, and effectively visualizing data and results using R.
Best Practices for Interpreting Statistical Results
Understand the Context: Interpret results within the framework of your research questions and hypotheses. Consider the implications of your findings in the broader context of mass communications theory and practice.
Consider the Magnitude and Direction: Beyond statistical significance, examine the magnitude and direction of the effects. Effect sizes and confidence intervals provide valuable information about the practical significance of your results.
Acknowledge Limitations: Be transparent about the limitations of your analysis, including any assumptions, potential biases, or data constraints. Discuss how these limitations may impact the interpretation of your findings.
Multiple Tests and Adjustments: When conducting multiple statistical tests, consider the risk of Type I errors (false positives) and apply corrections (e.g., Bonferroni correction) if appropriate.
Reporting Statistical Findings in Research Papers and Presentations
Clarity and Precision: When reporting results, be clear and precise. Use appropriate statistical terminology, and ensure that all pvalues, confidence intervals, and effect sizes are accurately reported.
Visual Summaries: Incorporate tables and figures to summarize key findings. Visual summaries can enhance understanding and engagement, particularly for complex analyses.
Contextualize Your Findings: Discuss how your results align with or differ from previous research in the field. Highlight the contributions of your study to mass communications research and potential implications for practice or policy.
Recommendations for Future Research: Based on your findings, suggest areas for further investigation. Acknowledging gaps in your study can inspire future research endeavors.
Visualizing Data and Results Effectively Using R’s Plotting Capabilities

Leverage ggplot2: Utilize the
ggplot2
package for creating sophisticated and customizable plots. Whether you’re visualizing distributions, relationships, or trends,ggplot2
offers a versatile toolkit for conveying your findings visually.
library(ggplot2)
ggplot(data, aes(x = variable1, y = variable2)) +
geom_point() +
labs(title = "Relationship between Variable 1 and Variable 2")
Dynamic Reporting with R Markdown: R Markdown allows you to integrate R code, results, and narrative text into a single document, facilitating dynamic and reproducible reporting. Use R Markdown to create reports, presentations, and even interactive web applications that can be easily shared.
Interactive Visualizations: For a more engaging presentation of results, consider using packages like
plotly
orshiny
to create interactive visualizations that allow the audience to explore the data and findings in depth.
Interpreting and discussing findings with clarity and depth, grounded in best practices for statistical reporting and enhanced by effective data visualization, are essential for impactful mass communications research. By leveraging R’s robust analytical and plotting capabilities, researchers can ensure their work not only contributes to academic knowledge but also resonates with broader audiences, facilitating informed decisionmaking and discourse in the field.
11.10 Advanced Topics in Statistical Analysis
As researchers delve deeper into the nuances of mass communications research, they often encounter the need for more sophisticated statistical analyses to uncover complex relationships and patterns within their data. R, with its comprehensive array of packages and functions, is exceptionally wellsuited to these advanced analytical tasks. This section introduces researchers to more complex analyses such as multivariate regression and factor analysis, discusses the use of R for power analysis and sample size determination, and explores exploratory data analysis techniques available in R.
Introduction to More Complex Analyses
 Multivariate Regression: Multivariate regression extends simple linear regression to include multiple independent variables, allowing researchers to examine the effects of several predictors on a single outcome variable. This is particularly useful in mass communications research for analyzing the impact of various media consumption habits on audience attitudes or behaviors.
# Example of multivariate regression in R
multivariate_model < lm(outcome_variable ~ predictor1 + predictor2 + predictor3, data = dataset)
summary(multivariate_model)
 Factor Analysis: Factor analysis is a technique used to identify underlying variables, or factors, that explain the pattern of correlations among observed variables. In the context of survey research, factor analysis can help in understanding the dimensions of attitudes or perceptions among media audiences.
# Example of factor analysis in R
library(factoextra)
fa_result < factanal(factors = 2, covmat = cor(dataset))
print(fa_result)
Using R for Power Analysis and Sample Size Determination

Power Analysis: Power analysis is a critical step in research design, used to determine the minimum sample size required to detect an effect of a given size with a certain degree of confidence. R’s
pwr
package provides functions for power analysis across a range of statistical tests.
# Example of power analysis for ttests in R
library(pwr)
pwr.t.test(d = 0.5, power = 0.8, sig.level = 0.05, type = "two.sample")

Sample Size Determination: Accurately determining sample size is crucial for ensuring the reliability of your research findings. The
pwr
package can also be used for calculating sample sizes needed to achieve a desired power for various test types.
Exploratory Data Analysis Techniques in R

Data Visualization: Visualizing your data using histograms, box plots, scatter plots, and density plots can reveal underlying patterns, trends, and outliers. The
ggplot2
package is particularly useful for creating a wide range of informative and attractive visualizations.
# Example of creating a histogram in R
ggplot(dataset, aes(x = variable)) + geom_histogram(binwidth = 1, fill = "blue")
 Principal Component Analysis (PCA): PCA is a technique used to reduce the dimensionality of data sets, increasing interpretability while minimizing information loss. This can be particularly useful in dealing with highdimensional data, such as responses from large surveys.

Correlation Analysis: Investigating correlations between variables can provide insights into potential relationships worth further exploration. The
cor()
function and thecorrplot
package offer robust tools for correlation analysis and visualization.
# Example of correlation analysis in R
cor_matrix < cor(dataset)
corrplot(cor_matrix, method = "circle")
As researchers progress to more advanced stages of their work, the ability to conduct complex statistical analyses becomes increasingly important. R, with its vast capabilities and supportive community, serves as an indispensable resource for navigating these advanced topics in statistical analysis. By leveraging R for multivariate analyses, power analysis, sample size determination, and exploratory data techniques, mass communications researchers can deepen their understanding of their data, uncovering insights that drive the field forward.
11.11 Ensuring Reproducibility
In the everevolving field of mass communications, where datadriven insights play a pivotal role in shaping our understanding of media dynamics, the importance of reproducible research cannot be overstated. Reproducibility—the ability for other researchers to replicate the findings of a study using the same data and methodologies—enhances the credibility, transparency, and utility of research outcomes. This section underscores the significance of reproducible research in mass communications and introduces practical tools and practices, specifically R Markdown and Git in RStudio, to facilitate reproducibility.
The Importance of Reproducible Research in Mass Communications
Credibility and Transparency: Reproducible research practices build credibility by allowing independent verification of findings. They also foster transparency by providing clear documentation of methodologies and analyses.
Enhanced Collaboration: Reproducibility simplifies collaboration across diverse research teams, enabling shared understanding and facilitating contributions to a shared project.
Accelerated Innovation: By making research easily replicable, researchers can more quickly build upon existing work, accelerating innovation and discovery in the field of mass communications.
Using R Markdown to Create Dynamic Reports
R Markdown is a powerful tool within R that integrates data analysis with documentation, allowing researchers to weave together narrative text, code, and output in a single document. This integration ensures that analyses are not only reproducible but also easily shareable and understandable.
Dynamic Reporting: R Markdown documents are dynamic, meaning that the analysis outputs (e.g., tables, figures) automatically update whenever the underlying data or analysis code changes, ensuring consistency and accuracy in reporting.
Comprehensive Documentation: R Markdown supports the inclusion of detailed explanations alongside the code, making the rationale behind data manipulation, analysis choices, and interpretation clear to any reader.
Multiple Output Formats: R Markdown can compile reports into various formats, including HTML, PDF, and Word, making it easy to disseminate findings to different audiences.
This is an R Markdown document for mass communications research. Markdown is a simple formatting syntax for authoring HTML, PDF, and MS Word documents.
r setup, include=FALSE knitr::opts_chunk$set(echo = TRUE)
11.12 Data Analysis Section
We begin by loading the necessary packages and data.
r loaddata library(ggplot2) data < read.csv("path/to/data.csv")
Now, let’s visualize the relationship between two variables.
r plotdata ggplot(data, aes(x = variable1, y = variable2)) + geom_point()
Version Control with Git in RStudio for Tracking Changes in Analysis
Integrating Git with RStudio offers a robust version control solution that tracks changes in analysis scripts, data files, and report documents. This practice not only safeguards against data loss but also facilitates the tracking of modifications and collaboration among researchers.
Track Changes and Collaborate: Git allows researchers to keep a comprehensive record of changes made to their project files, enabling teams to collaborate more effectively by reviewing, merging, and discussing modifications.
Branching for Experimental Analysis: Git branches offer a safe space for trying out new analysis techniques or exploring data without affecting the main project, encouraging experimentation and innovation.
Share and Publish Work: Through platforms like GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket, researchers can share their RStudio projects with the wider community, enhancing the visibility and impact of their work.
Ensuring reproducibility in mass communications research is essential for fostering a culture of openness, collaboration, and trust within the academic community. By leveraging tools like R Markdown for dynamic reporting and Git for version control in RStudio, researchers can significantly enhance the reproducibility of their work, paving the way for more robust and impactful research outcomes.