[R] Newbie question: what are the advantages?

John Hendrickx john_hendrickx at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 27 10:03:30 CET 2001

I'm fairly new to R as well. I've found it has a much wider range of
statistical options than SPSS, which in my opinion is fairly limited
in this area. I especially like the flexibility in specifying models
and adding and removing terms. On the other hand, fairly basic things
like a table of percentages can be quite a hassle. The output is also
rather sparse, I've figured out how to add "value labels" but still
don't know how to add "variable labels".

But if you're interested in a comparison of R with Stata, another
statistical package, browse the Statalist archive for the last few
days at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/statalist/. Several people there
felt that Stata and R complemented each other and even proposed a
stronger integration.

As someone else mentioned, there are some good introductory texts to
R in the "Contributed" section of Cran. I found "Kickstarting R" to
be quite useful, it shows how to do the elementary stuff like tables
and descriptive statistics. Be sure to check out the other texts as

Good luck,
John Hendrickx

--- hzi <hzi at uol.com.br> 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 (which is the one I´m used
> to)? What are the advantages of using R when compared? Is
> flexibility an issue? What about the learning curve? Is it
> something that is awfully hard to learn? And the documentation
> seems to be rather sparse, 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.
>     Henry 

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