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Reproducibility for the Rest of Us

When I first heard that one of the benefits of using R was reproducibility, I was confused. As a PhD anthropologist who has worked for the last several years in the world of program evaluation , I assumed reproducibility meant scientists in labs being able to rerun other scientists' studies in order to check that they hadn't made up their results. Reproducibility seemed interesting, but entirely irrelevant to me. Boy, was I wrong. Reproducibility means something far broader than I previously...

I "only" use R for descriptive stats — and that's OK

I have a confession: the only statistics I do in R are descriptive statistics . I have only very occasionally used R for t tests, chi square, linear regression, or other inferential stats. Why, you might be wondering, would I use software designed by and for statisticians, data scientists, and other folks on the quantitative end of the spectrum if I'm using it for the types of analyses most people do in Excel? A complete answer to this question requires some background. The daily R-bloggers...

Making Small Multiples in R

Small multiples are one of the data viz tricks that experienced information designers LOVE. Ann Emery uses them: “My favorite part of data visualization workshops? The airports. Kidding. Watching jaws drop when folks are introduced to small multiples layouts for the first time. Definitely!” Stephanie Evergreen writes that “small multiples version[s] make things approximately a billion times easier” to understand. Andy Kirk describes himself as “fully paid-up member of the small multiples fan...

Never roll that ball of yarn twice

Does your workflow look anything like this? Receive data Import data to SPSS Do data cleaning and analysis in SPSS Export data to Excel Make figures in Excel Copy figures from Excel to Word Write your report This, or some slight variation on it, is the workflow than many of us in evaluation use. It’s mostly fine … until it’s not. Has this ever happened to you? You go through steps one through seven, only to realize that you made a mistake at step three. So, you have to go back to SPSS, redo...

R Handles the Beast and the Beauty

R is the Swiss army knife of data tools. It can handle the work of importing, cleaning, and wrangling data (the beast ). And it can also make some of the most attractive graphs you've ever seen (the beauty ). The Beast: Importing Data One concern that users considering R sometimes have is: how will I work with all of the data I currently have in Excel, SPSS, or some other proprietary format? R handles the beast that is importing data with ease. There are packages (that is, add-ons designed to...

The Life-Changing Magic of R

Many people come to R for one simple reason: it's free. That's one reason why both of us started using it. But as people use R, they come to appreciate its power. Here's an example: have you ever spent time using hlookups and vlookups to work with multiple columns in Excel. Was it a pain? Of course it was! Well, R makes this a million times easier. Check out this short video on using join functions in R. Package of the month: skimr When you do data analysis, one of the first things you need...