Re: [R] [PS] Re: a more elegant way to get percentages? (now R books)

From: hadley wickham <h.wickham_at_gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2008 12:57:16 -0500

> There has been a virtual population explosion of R books in recent years
> and we all have our favorites. You may wish to pick one oriented toward
> your specialty, but the absolute minimum lowest common denominator (by
> which I mean that it has the ground zero essential information that all
> users must share, not that it is minimal or incomplete) is the manual
> "An Introduction to R," available by download from the Cran website.

I don't mean to pick on you in particular, or on the authors of "An introduction to R", but I really don't see how anyone in good conscience can recommend this to a new user of R. I think it does a great job of covering the basics, and is probably a good read after you've been using R for a year or so, but in goes into a lot of depth into things that you really don't need to know for doing practical, day-to-day data analysis.

For example, you don't find out how to actually load data into R until page 30, while you get 3 page on the mode and length of objects at page 12. Do we really need to know that an empty (zero length) vector still has a mode?

These comments are based on my experience teaching R to undergrad stat majors, and so may not apply to your audience. If you teach R in the same order as "an introduction to R" it takes you about 4 weeks before you can actually do anything useful with R, by which time the students are bored to tears. If you start with getting data into R and displaying the data with graphics, you can do useful things very quickly, providing interest and motivation, and then you can gradually introduce a more rigourous description of the components as needed.

Hadley

-- 
http://had.co.nz/

______________________________________________
R-help_at_r-project.org mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Received on Thu 13 Mar 2008 - 17:59:49 GMT

Archive maintained by Robert King, hosted by the discipline of statistics at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
Archive generated by hypermail 2.2.0, at Thu 13 Mar 2008 - 18:30:21 GMT.

Mailing list information is available at https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help. Please read the posting guide before posting to the list.

list of date sections of archive