Brief R Tutorial
June 6, 2008
The best way to go through this tutorial is to first install a version of R (see installation section below)
and type the commands along with the examples given. This way you can see for yourself what output each
command gives.
Contents
1
Introduction
2
2
R Basics  Installation, Starting, Quitting, and Objects
2
3
Entering or Reading Data Into R
2
3.1
Typing Data In Manually
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3
3.2
Reading Data From a File
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3
3.3
Accessing Elements of Data Arrays, Vectors, or Matrices
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4
3.4
Determining Sizes of Data Structures/Objects
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4
4
Basic R Commands You Should Know
4
5
Statistical Commands You Should Know
4
6
Writing Your Own Functions and Sourcing Code
5
6.1
Writing a Function
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5
6.2
For and While Loops
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6
6.3
Logical Arguments
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6
6.4
Sourcing Code and Setting the Working Directory
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6
7
Graphics
7
7.1
Creating a pdf or ps File of an R Figure
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7
8
Writing Output To A File
7
9
Installing Packages
8
1
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1
Introduction
R is a statistical programming language that provides many built in functions for performing statistical
analysis. R is also flexible enough to allow users to write their own functions and source code written in a
text editor such as NotePad or Emacs. The advantage to learning R is that R is very easy to learn and easy
to use. However, R is quite slow when doing heavy computational work (such as Bayesian algorithms) and
so using R for heavy computing is not recommended.
This tutorial provides a very
brief
introduction to how to use R. This document will go through some of
the most commonly used R functions but will in no way cover all of the functions in R. To learn advanced
R functions, you should use Internet searches with the key word
CRAN
which stands for Comprehensive
R Archive Network. Using the key word
CRAN
in addition to other key words about the function you are
looking for will generally produce a lot of results.
If you forget the specific syntax for the R functions listed in this tutorial, you can simply type
?function
and R will return the documentation for
function
which will provide almost all the necessary information
for using
function
. As an example, typing
?qnorm
will return the documentation for the R function
qnorm
.
Alternatively you can use
help(functionname)
which does the same thing that
?functionname
does.
2
R Basics  Installation, Starting, Quitting, and Objects
R can be downloaded and installed for free from the website
http://cran.rproject.org
. This web page
provides detailed instructions for installing R on any operating system.
If you are using the department
computers, you do not need to install R as it has already been installed for you.
Accessing R is different for every operating system. For windows users, simply double click the R icon
that is created after installation. For Mac users, you can double click the R icon under your Applications
menu. On Linux and the department computers, in the terminal window (if you don’t know what a terminal
window is then please read the Linux tutorial) simply type R at the command prompt and R will be opened
within the terminal window.
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 Spring '09
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 ObjectOriented Programming, Normal Distribution, Array

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