R and RStudio

We’re using an incredibly powerful statistical software package in this class (in fact, this entire course site is built using it). Unfortunately, it does come with a bit of a learning curve. You won’t be required to learn the nitty-gritty ins and outs of the R scripting language but you will need to know the basics of what R can do. Luckily, we have RStudio to really help out with that. Below are some introductory articles and videos.

Download R

This simply needs to be installed. We’ll be using RStudio rather than the simple R console.

Download RStudio

Pick the version for your operating system.

Quick-R R Tutorial

A quick (obviously) introduction to some of the most basic aspects of R.

The built-in help in RStudio

Inside RStudio, simply type help.start() in the console and voila, the manuals and reference materials appear in the Help module. If you prefer a more organized manual, here’s a getting started book.

R for Cats

In case you like cats.


Print them out and keep them at your desk. The RStudio IDE and RMarkdown cheatsheets are particularly useful.


swirl is a fantastic collection of courses (ranging between 10 and 20 minutes each) designed to help you learn R programming while immersed in R!

RMarkdown for Beginners

Guess what this website is built in. Yep! RMarkdown. If you want to create your assignments in RMarkdown and submit them that way you are more than welcome to do so. You can even use a plugin called papaja to create perfectly formatted APA papers for you.


If you need to convert files from one markup format into another, pandoc is your swiss-army knife. (It converts from everything to everything and you’ll never need to touch it; everything happens through RStudio. —Dr S)

LaTeX (variations)

You will be wanting to save your R results as PDFs at some point. To do this you will need to install LaTeX, a mathetmatical typesetting system. It’s required to convert code into symbols. Here’s a good but brief introduction to LaTeX with RStudio. You can install MiKTeX in Windows and MacTeX on a Mac.

So you can write something like:

$$ y_{ij} = b_{ij} + \beta_{0} + \beta_{1} $$

and get the following displayed in your document (as copyable text!):

$ y_{ij} = b_{ij} + \beta_{0} + \beta_{1} $