[R] A comment about R:

Peter Flom flom at ndri.org
Tue Jan 3 15:49:47 CET 2006

>>> "John Fox" <jfox at mcmaster.ca> 1/3/2006 9:35 am >>> as always,
raises some excellent points.  I have some responses, interspersed

It's not reasonable to argue with someone's experience -- that is, if
tell me that they found R harder to learn than SAS, say, then I believe
-- but that's not my experience in teaching relatively inexperienced
students to use statistical software. A few points:

A lot of this probably has to do with what you learned first.  I
learned SAS long
before I learned R.  Had it been reversed, I would probably find SAS

(1) Casual and initial  use of statistical software is easier through a
so it's not reasonable, for example, to compare learning to use SPSS
via its
GUI to learning R via commands.

True, but I was comparing SAS and R, and this originally started
with STATA and R, and all 3 of those are command driven.

(4) Not everyone has the same experience and thinks in the same way.
used many different statistical packages and computing environments,
have learned quite a few programming languages (most of which I can no
longer use). Of these, I found APL and R the easiest to learn, and
(Lisp-Stat) the hardest. Sometimes, though, it's worth expending the
to learn something that's difficult -- I feel that I got a lot out of
learning to program in Lisp, for example.

This is, I think, a big part of it.  I think that R would be a lot
easier to learn for
someone who has learned some other computer language.  I have not.  

I agree that learning something difficult can often be worth it.


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