[R] Which FM should beginners R? A suggestion.

Martin Maechler maechler at stat.math.ethz.ch
Fri Dec 10 17:30:35 CET 2004

>>>>> "RichOK" == Richard A O'Keefe <ok at cs.otago.ac.nz>
>>>>>     on Tue, 7 Dec 2004 14:35:22 +1300 (NZDT) writes:

    RichOK> I've made one important change to
    RichOK> http://www.cs.otago.ac.nz/staffpriv/ok/R-help.txt

now that the server there is responsive again,...

Thank you very much, Richard!

I allow myself to be quite (too?) critical in the following.
This shouldn't deflect from the fact that your text is probably
very valuable already!

    RichOK> and a couple of minor ones (notably qqplot).  The important one is
    RichOK> that I've split "elementary statistics" into "elementary descriptive
    RichOK> statistics and tests" and "model fitting", with rather more in the
    RichOK> model fitting category (but still not glm).  Should 'glm' be there?

The importance of many of these are a matter of taste. Yes, I'd
put 'glm' there. {For my particular taste even 'MASS::rlm'}.

I'd definitely delete the "R Language Definition" from the list
of essential reading for R beginners.  This should be only for
(some of) those beginners who know real programming languages,
and now come to R "as a programming language".  Probably an
increasingly small minority of R newbies.

    RichOK> Possibly the biggest gap is that there is nothing about time series.

yes, and quite a lot about "string handling" most of which many
beginners probably have no need. I'd only keep  paste() and
system() from that list

{and as side note: I have the impression  ifelse() has been a bit
 over emphasized in the past; we've seen many user examples with
 ifelse(A,B,C)  where they should really have used
 if(A) B else C
Also - of course I have to say this - my favorite 'str' is  missing..

The final list of distributions is also (too) long.
Why not keep it short and refer to the list inside "An
Introduction to R"?

Another thought:
Maybe cut your list into
    ``to read in the first week''
and ``to be read during the next few months'' ?
This would make it (the first part) quite a bit less
overwhelming for the real newbie.

Thanks again for this, Richard!


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