Using R for Introductory Statistics

These notes are an introduction to using the statistical software package R for an introductory statistics course. They are meant to accompany an elementary statistics book such as Kitchens “Exploring Statistics”. The goals are not to show all the features of R, or to replace a standard textbook, but rather to be used with a textbook to illustrate the features of R that can be learned in a one-semester, introductory statistics course.

These notes describe how to use R while learning introductory statistics. The purpose is to allow this fine software to be used in ”lower-level” courses where MINITAB, SPSS, Excel, etc. are often used. It is expected that the reader has had at least a pre-calculus course. It is the hope, that students shown how to use R at this early level will better understand the statistical issues and will ultimately benefit from the more sophisticated program despite its steeper “learning curve”.

The benefits of R for an introductory student are
• R is free. R is open-source and runs on UNIX, Windows and Macintosh.
• R has an excellent built-in help system.
• R has excellent graphing capabilities.
• Students can easily migrate to the commercially supported S-Plus program if commercial software is desired.
• R’s language has a powerful, easy-to-learn syntax with many built-in statistical functions.
• The language is easy to extend with user-written functions.
• R is a computer programming language. For programmers, it will feel more familiar than others and for new
computer users, the next leap to programming will not be so large.

Using R for Introductory Statistics
Using R for Introductory Statistics

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