Chapter 1 Introduction to Book

This book will provide readers a few basic steps to begin working with data in R. It is not meant as a comprehensive introduction to using R for all of the different functions that are possible. Rather, it is tailored to help an individual that has quantitative data they would like to work with, but has not worked in R previously. The presentation of material is meant to be accessible to students with little to no background in R or computer programming.

In many ways it is a companion to Introduction to Research Methods, where the types of analysis that can be done are discussed. However, the two textbooks do not necessisarily need to be read in any order. While Introduction to Research Methods generally presents code with cleaned data in order to make the examples easy to implement for readers, this textbook is designed for a student looking to prepare their own data for use.

Data rarely (if ever) will be given to you perfectly ready for analysis outside of a class. No matter what the data is, something will need reformatting, alterations, or changes before it is ready.

There is no way that this chapter could cover every change we might want to make to data. In part that’s because that much cleaning would require a lot of messes. This is more of a packet of ideas to get you started. It’s both focused on the mechanics and code of changing data in R, but also to make you realize that preparing your ingredients is the first step of cooking with data.