Re: [R] A comment about R:

From: Peter Flom <flom_at_ndri.org>
Date: Wed 04 Jan 2006 - 01:49:47 EST

>>> "John Fox" <jfox@mcmaster.ca> 1/3/2006 9:35 am >>> as always,
raises some excellent points. I have some responses, interspersed

<<<<
It's not reasonable to argue with someone's experience -- that is, if people
tell me that they found R harder to learn than SAS, say, then I believe them
-- but that's not my experience in teaching relatively inexperienced students to use statistical software. A few points:
>>>

A lot of this probably has to do with what you learned first. I learned SAS long
before I learned R. Had it been reversed, I would probably find SAS hard.

<<<
(1) Casual and initial use of statistical software is easier through a GUI,
so it's not reasonable, for example, to compare learning to use SPSS via its
GUI to learning R via commands.
>>>

True, but I was comparing SAS and R, and this originally started with STATA and R, and all 3 of those are command driven.

<<<<
(4) Not everyone has the same experience and thinks in the same way. I've
used many different statistical packages and computing environments, and
have learned quite a few programming languages (most of which I can no longer use). Of these, I found APL and R the easiest to learn, and Lisp
(Lisp-Stat) the hardest. Sometimes, though, it's worth expending the effort
to learn something that's difficult -- I feel that I got a lot out of learning to program in Lisp, for example.
>>>>

This is, I think, a big part of it. I think that R would be a lot easier to learn for
someone who has learned some other computer language. I have not.

I agree that learning something difficult can often be worth it.

Peter



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