[R] Giving a first good impression of R to Social Scientists

Spencer Graves spencer.graves at pdf.com
Sat Aug 14 04:40:29 CEST 2004

      I think I agree with Prof. Lumley:   For me, R would likely be the 
platform of choice for most new statistical algorithm development.  It 
has a steep learning curve, and I would therefore not recommend it for 
anyone who would not likely be involved in this kind of activity (unless 
my target audience could not afford simpler software that could handle 
the problems they will most likely encounter).  Moreover, the learning 
curve could be even more difficult for many social scientists than for 
statisticians, mathematicians, engineers, physical scientists, who might 
more likely have more background in vector spaces and programming in 
other language(s). 

      I'm concerned that the time they spend learning R syntax might 
reduce substantially the time they have for learning statistical 
concepts that might be more important for them in the long term.  I 
retract this reservations if, for example, the target audience already 
knows something about structural equation modeling and want to extend 
the R "sem" package for novel applications. 

      hope this helps.  spencer graves

Thomas Lumley wrote:

>On Thu, 12 Aug 2004, Rau, Roland wrote:
>>That is why would like to ask the experts on this list if anyone of you has
>>encountered a similar experience and what you could advise to persuade
>>people quickly that it is worth learning a new software?
>One problem is that it may not be true.  Unless these people are going to
>be doing their own statistics in the future (which is probably true only
>for a minority) they might actually be better off with a point and click
>interface.  I'm (obviously) not arguing that SPSS is a better statistical
>environment than R, but it is easier to learn, and in 10 or 15 weeks they
>may not get to see the benefits of R.
>	-thomas
>R-help at stat.math.ethz.ch mailing list
>PLEASE do read the posting guide! http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html

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