Introductory R

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Sample chapters - Scripts and data sets - Information for lecturers - Online resources for R beginners - Contact, discuss, review

Introductory RIntroductory R book cover

A Beginner's Guide to Data Visualisation and Analysis using R

R is now the most widely used statistical software in academic science and it is rapidly expanding into other fields such as finance. R is almost limitlessly flexible and powerful, hence its appeal, but can be very difficult for the novice user. There are no easy pull-down menus, error messages are often cryptic and simple tasks like importing your data or exporting a graph can be difficult and frustrating. Introductory R is written for the novice user who knows a bit about statistics but who hasn't yet got to grips with the ways of R. The book

  • walks you through the basics of R's command line interface
  • gives a set of simple rules to follow to make sure you import your data properly
  • introduces the script editor and gives advice on workflow 
  • contains a detailed introduction to drawing graphs in R and 
  • gives advice on how to deal with some of the most common errors that you might encounter.

The techniques of statistical analysis in R are illustrated by a series of chapters where experimental and survey data are analysed. There is a strong emphasis on using real data from real scientific research, with all the problems and uncertainty that implies, rather than well-behaved made-up data that give ideal and easy to analyse results.

5 star review on "R is a world class tool for data analysis, but is intimidating when you first try to get going. This book guides you through that initial period with aplomb, and a heathy sprinkling of humour too. How do you even get your data into R ? This book gets you there and sets you sailing.".

Where can I buy it?

Price drop! By cutting down on the file size I've managed to reduce the Amazon "Download charge" which means that I've been able to drop the price of the book to $5.50 or something near that on Amazon, Kobo and iBooks, and $4 on gumroad.
Amazon Kobo ibookstore pdf

Introductory R is available for direct download to your ebook reader or tablet from Amazon, Kobo, and in the iBookstore for approximately 5, $8 or 6. You can buy a pdf or an epub file from Gumroad for a bit less (see the whiney section on pricing below).

The epub can be read on a computer or tablet using an epub reader app or on almost all ebook readers. Please note that if you buy it directly from Gumroad you'll need to be able to load it onto your ebook reader yourself: if you don't think you can manage this then you'll have to go with the pdf or pay a bit more and get it directly onto your ebook reader.

Whiney section on pricing The pricing of these books is largely determined by the pricing policies of the ebook sellers. If you look at their literature you'll see that Amazon let you sell ebooks and charge a 30% fee - this is not actually a true representation of the real charges they impose. Firstly, they impose a "download charge", and secondly they charge a 65% fee in a number of territories such as India, where I sell a lot of books. This 65% fee can be avoided if you sign up to a deal whereby you agree only to sell your ebook through Amazon... but I prefer not to do that. Amazon will also discount your ebook without even the courtesy of an email to the author, and also require that the book not be sold at a cheaper price at another ebook seller. That said, Amazon are amazingly slick and the whole process of selling books through them is a pleasure, unlike Google books: their system is so hard to deal with and their insistence on also discounting apparently at random and with no input from the author means that I've given up in frustration. From my point of view the best deal is if you buy the pdf or the epub file direct through Gumroad.

 Sample chapters

You can download and read the first four chapters from Introductory R free of charge. The full chapter listing is:

  1. What is R?
  2. A First R Session
  3. Basics
  4. Example: Smoking and Cancer
  5. Preparing and Importing Your Data
  6. Example: Comparing Immune Responses Between two Caterpillar Species
  7. Using the Help Files
  8. Example: Predicting TB in the UK
  9. R Packages
  10. Graphs
  11. Record Keeping
  12. Example: The Cost of Sexual Signalling in Yeast
  13. Troubleshooting
  14. Example: Whale Brains and Dive Duration
  15. Example: Beetle Reproductive Output
  16. Basic Programming in R
  17. R Resources

Scripts and data sets from the book

Information for lecturers

If you're teaching a course on R and you'd like to recommend Introductory R as a course textbook, email me and we can discuss special pricing deals.

Online resources for R beginners

I've put together a page with links to some of the best online resources available for the R novice, including online books and guides and video tutorials.

Contact, discuss, review

If you have any specific questions or comments please drop me a line

If you have general questions or ones that other people might be interested in as well then there is a facebook page for the book - we can discuss things there if you like.

If you've read the book and found it helpful, a review in the usual places is always very much appreciated.