[R] Useful books for learning the R software and the S programminglanguage

Rau, Roland Rau at demogr.mpg.de
Tue Jan 13 10:37:10 CET 2009


Hi,

if I may add my 2 cents.
- The most important thing is to have a real problem/question you want
to solve. Just "trying to learn" is very difficult because you might
encounter some problems and if this is not a problem you *have* to
solve, I would have the tendency to skip this particular problem.
- Have a look at "An Introduction to R". This manual is shipped with
every R distribution. Also have a look at the Data Import/Export Manual
(also shipped with R). With real problems usually you have already a
data-set which you need to read/load.
- If you want to buy yourself only one book, I would recommend the
Venables & Ripley: Modern Applied Statistics with S ("MASS"). It covers
many, many topics such as GLMs, survival analysis, time series analysis,
.... If you know already what kind of statistical analysis you want to
perform, this is the ideal book because it summarizes the statistical
theory and shows how this is implemented in R. (And in case that R and
S-Plus differ, MASS tells you how). Peter Dalgaard's "An Introduction to
R" is also an excellent but. It requires less from the reader than MASS.
Maybe have a look at both and then decide for yourself (sorry, those are
the only two R books I have).
- Make yourself familiar with the help functions in R. They might look
strange in the beginning, but they are incredibly helpful. Besides the
great example section, I consider the "See Also" section to be very
helpful: when you are not exactly sure if the current help page is what
you are looking for, quite often I found the function I actually needed
mentioned there.
- Don't try to "translate" from other statistics packages. This might be
particularly difficult. When I started with R, I was looking for
instance for "what is the equivelant R function of SPSS's 'recode'?".
Rather try to formulate the problem in English words and then search for
it in the R-Help archives. Furthermore, for me, personally, "S Poetry"
by Patrick Burns was a joy to read and it was the best tutorial for
subscripting (Chapter 1.3).
http://www.burns-stat.com/pages/spoetry.html (I am looking forward to
read his "Inferno" as well.)

I hope this helps a bit,
Roland




> -----Original Message-----
> From: r-help-bounces at r-project.org 
> [mailto:r-help-bounces at r-project.org] On Behalf Of Robert Wilk
> Sent: Monday, January 12, 2009 9:36 PM
> To: r-help at r-project.org
> Subject: [R] Useful books for learning the R software and the 
> S programminglanguage
> 
> any useful books for learning the R statistical software?
> are they pricey?
> 
> and if the books recommended focus on S, how compatible will 
> they be for
> someone learning R?
> 
> thank you in advance for your help.
> 
> 
> P.S.
> specialized survey statistical procedures? Is R good at that?
> 
> 	[[alternative HTML version deleted]]
> 
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