[R] Newbie question: what are the advantages?
jaitchis at lisp.com.au
Tue Feb 27 06:01:49 CET 2001
On 27 Feb 2001, at 11:03, hzi wrote:
> Hi -
> I´m a medical graduate student. I´m totally new to R, although I had
> heard of S before. I read it was GNU free software, and since I also
> use Linux, I decide to check it out. But I have some doubts regarding
> R: how does using R differ from using software packages, like SPSS
R is a language for doing data analysis (and other things) .. SPSS, last
time I used it, was a collection of procedures.
> (which is the one I´m used to)? What are the advantages of using R when
> compared? Is flexibility an issue?
?for R .. no, you can do anything you want .. I guess there are limits,
but nothing obvious.
What about the learning curve? Is it
> something that is awfully hard to learn?
it takes a bit of time, but there are plenty of examples. Just find the
documentation on some procedure that you are interested in and run the
examples .. you will learn a lot
And the documentation seems to
> be rather sparse,
no, I would say the documentation is extensive. All functions are fully
documented, there is extensive on line help accessible just by typing ?,
help files are searchable, come in a variety of formats, there is a
reasonably extensive FAQ..
Apart from the manuals and on line help there is 'contributed
and the mailing lists are archived and searchable.
unless you´re willling to buy a book (no, I´m not
> some "cheap" person, I´m a student from Brazil - things are not so
> cheap for me...which is one of the reasons free software is attractive
> to me). Thank you, Best regards to all.
The 'book' you refer to is probably 'Modern Applied Statistics' which you
may need if you need knowledge of the area .. have a look at
http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/pub/MASS3/ .. don't be put off by the fact that
it appears to be about S .. R being a better S
But if your statistical knowledge is adequate, you may not need to buy the
book .. certainly you can do simple things simply in R (and complex things
I'd encourage you to download R, and spend some time with it. You will
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