[R] Reasons to Use R

Joel J. Adamson jadamson at PARTNERS.ORG
Thu Apr 12 15:43:40 CEST 2007

Douglas Bates writes:
 > One
 > can do data analysis by using the computer as a blunt instrument with
 > which to bludgeon the problem to death but one can't do elegant data
 > analysis like that.

One nice thing about a "blunt instrument" like Stata is the ability to
hold an entire dataset in memory and interactively play with the model
and generate new variables all in one session.  I figure out what I
want interactively and then separate the data management and analysis in
.do-files, then run them in batch mode.

However, when I first read of the approach of using Perl, sed or awk
to manage data and then only doing the analysis in R, I immediately
thought "Wow, that is a really great idea, I never thought of it like
that before."  It would really get me to think about the modelling and
the data management clearly.  A little voice said "Dude, you're not
using a PDP-11...(oh wait, that might be kinda cool)" but the logic of
it immediately made sense.  I consider it a big part of my


Joel J. Adamson
Pediatric Psychopharmacology Research Unit
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA  02114
(617) 643-1432
(303) 880-3109

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