Introduction

In this induction session we introduce the statistical computer software R, which can be used to undertake statistical analyses. Statistical analyses are conducted using a computer because it is much quicker and makes fewer errors than a human. There are numerous programs that can be used for statistical analysis, including; Excel (limited), Minitab, R, SAS, SPSS, STATA. In this course we use R because it:

  • is widely used by professional statisticians;
  • can implement a wide range of simple and advanced statistical methods; and
  • is free, so you can download it at home.

The one downside of using R is that the user-interface is not very user-friendly, so a user-interface called RStudio was developed. Thus, the software you will use is R with a user-interface called RStudio. In this introduction we will use R via RStudio, but you can use R on its own. Both these pieces of software are freely available to download from the following websites.

Note, R can be used without the RStudio user-interface, but you cannot use RStudio without having first installed R.