# 1 Intro to R: Practical 8

R is an open-source (i.e. free) alternative to Stata, rapidly growing in popularity. Normally, R is used in conjunction with RStudio, an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that streamlines the effective use of the software.

R has a steeper learning curve than Stata and completing the Stata practicals before turning to the corresponding R practicals is highly encouraged. The initial difficulty in learning R is offset by the greater degree of flexibility and capability achievable with the language with more advanced use (i.e. this guide was written and is maintained entirely through R!)

This guide annotates code as you use it: relevant R concepts and syntax will generally be introduced along the way as they naturally arise in the data analysis process. This means that this guide functions not only as a guide to completing the practicals in R, but also a as a guide to learning R itself.

The suggested way to use this guide is to follow through the relevant section after you finish the equivalent Stata practical. Use the guide in tandem with the R Notebook provided for the practical - the R Notebook will have space for you to enter the appropriate code (given in the guide) and write your response. Try this way of working as you go through this initial section of the guide. The purpose of this section is to give you the very basics to get started in R.