Re: [R] Transferring R results to word prosessors

From: Tom Backer Johnsen <backer_at_psych.uib.no>
Date: Sat 11 Feb 2006 - 06:04:05 EST


At 06:09 10.02.2006 -0500, Doran, Harold wrote:

>I didn't follow this thread entirely, but I did make a LaTeX
>recommendation and I know that wasn't what you were asking for. But, if I
>may, let me respond to the ideas you present below in an attempt to be
>somewhat persuasive.

No, you are correct, I was not looking for a LaTex solution. I would never want to try to wean my students from an office type package. That would not be worth the trouble -- for me. They should find out about these things by themseves. For my own part, I am curious, and will probably have a look at it.

>IMHO, this are horrible inefficiencies of SPSS and other packages, not
>virtues. To do what you are suggesting requires that one work in two
>environments, word and SPSS. If the researcher changes their analysis or
>wants to tweak the data, then you rerun the analysis, go back to SPSS copy
>and paste again. Why would someone want to do this when a much more
>efficient method exists?

Hmm. I would think that most users handle a number of applications for different purposes. I do not expect R to handle my e-mail, nor do I expect a spreadsheet to do text formatting. In itself, that is not a good argument IMHO. As to the trouble with cut and paste, well, I do not do that operation that often. But I do want things do be simple, simply to avoid wasting time explaing.

>Instead, with Sweave, you embed your R code inside the LaTeX document and
>work in a *single* environment. There is no need to copy and paste and if
>the data or analysis changes, you update your document very easily saving
>time, effort, and room for errors. In addition, the tables look much
>better than word, which (again IMHO) is an aggregiously bad program to
>begin with.

I have always liked the formatting of the documents I have recognized as being formatted with LaTex. And the Sweave concept seems very interesting. I have never heard of that system before, so thank you for mentioning it. I will have a look at it.

>Using this method, you can place any R code in the document, including
>graphics, tables (say with xtable) or anything. There is never a need to
>copy and paste as there is a wonderful, seemless effort between the two
>programs. Because LaTeX has options for presentations, one can easily
>create slides that look much better than ppt using a similar method saving
>hours of effort in my experience.
>
>So, instead of getting R to do what other less sophisticated programs do,
>which is an effort backwards into the old, and inefficient, ways of doing
>things, R is moving progressively forward and offers these similar
>capabilities, but in a much more efficient manner.
>
>Last, if your students are doing technical work, I would suggest they
>should be familiar with TeX anyhow. It is free, easy to use and learn,
>offers significant advances alongside R, and equations actually look like
>equations. BTW, creating and numbering equations in word is about the most
>difficult effort on earth!

This is students of psychology. Not technical work, and the number of formulas per 100 research reports and paper would be closer to 1 per 100 papers than 1 per 10 papers. They have been using Office type programs almost since Kindergarten. That is a simple fact of life (for me at least).

Tom



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