Workshop on Intro to R-Studio

Earlier this semester I wanted to attend the intro to R and R-studio workshop but had to unfortunately miss it cause of a conflicting schedule, luckily the entire session was recorded and uploaded to Vimeo to let anyone access the workshop. The intro to R-studio was led by Connor French, a GCDI fellow, and made sure everyone knew what the program is used for. I took a math lab class as an undergrad and I have dabbled in R-studio before. But since its been three years since I have taken the class, my R skills have gradually diminished, so I was looking forward to refreshing my programing skills. I have only ever used R as a powerful calculator and a statistical analysis tool, but Connor mentioned that R can be used as a powerful data visualizer as well. On top of that it can handle mapping using Leaflet ,too, another feature I never knew R had in its belt.

Connor took time in the beginning of the seminar letting the attendees know how to get in touch with the GCDI fellows and what tools are at their disposal if they were to run into any issues, something that I need to keep reminding myself. Connor explained R, the base program, as an engine and R-studio as the dashboard in a car, an analogy that is well suited for the two programs since R-studio is where most of the work is done. I am sure at this point the people attending the workshop were feeling a bit overwhelmed with the information they have been given but Connor let them know that learning a new program language is always daunting  but not to fret since the only way to refine your skills is with practice and completing personal projects.  

At this point he dove into what made R and R-Studio the powerful computational program it is by describing all the neat and concise features it had, starting off with the “packages” which allows users to install and keep a tidy set of functions. Connor best described them as an app you would use on a phone to let the user do any set of analysis with ease. He then gave an example of what you can visualize and showed off just how much R-Studio can get done.

We then started to get our feet wet with a data set on penguins and Connor broke down what each line of code did to our data. Little by little we were manipulating our work to get down to a subset of penguins to see their flipper length, body mass, and sex. It was at this point that Connor showed us the visualization aspect of R-Studio and made a colorful chart with flipper length on the x-axis, body mass on the y-axis and it being color-coordinated by their sex.

Towards the end of the workshop Connor gives the audience a handful of resources that they can follow and communities they can join to refine their R-Studio skills. The video in its entirety can be found here. The github page with the code and examples he uses are here. And if you would like to join RUG, R User’s Group, you can click here.