Introduction to R Software course

  • Start Date: November 05, 2013
  • End Date: November 07, 2013
  • City: Revelstoke BC
  • Venue: Coast Hillcrest Hotel
  • Instructor: Dr. Carl Schwarz

Course description

R is a free programming environment for data manipulation, statistical analyses and graphics that is becoming increasingly popular among ecologists. R is extremely powerful, can be readily extended to non-standard methods through the downloading of packages, and runs on a wide variety of platforms. Participants are expected to have a basic knowledge of statistics (as R is primarily a statistical package), but this was a course on how to use the software, not a course on statistical methods. The course is suitable for individuals who have never used R before as well as R-users looking to consolidate their understanding of the basics.

Our instructor was Dr. Carl Schwarz, Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, at Simon Fraser University (

Course outline

1. Starting with R

  • using R as a calculator
  • creating and using scripts in R
  • basic objects in R; vectors, scalars
  • basic functions in R, e.g. mean
  • getting data into R
  • saving information from R (plots and files)
  • using the R help
  • using Rstudio
  • packages; installing, finding, etc.

2. Objects in R

  • different data types
  • different ways to index objects
  • model objects; methods; classes

3. Plotting in R

  • pen-on-paper paradigm
  • ggplot package

4. Writing functions in R

5. Apply and other similar functions – never do loops in R again!

6. More advanced topics

  • factors
  • dealing with dates and times
  • sorting/ ordering
  • report writing
  • debugging functions (trace, browser) etc.


  • Phone 250-837-9311
  • Fax 250-837-9311
  • Email

Mailing Address

  • P.O. Box 2568
  • Revelstoke, British Columbia V0E 2S0
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