[R] Is R good for not-professional-statistician, un-mathematical clinical researchers?

White, Charles E WRAIR-Wash DC charles.edwin.white at us.army.mil
Thu Aug 19 14:53:36 CEST 2004

I'm not in your target audience but I consult with and teach to your target audience, so I'll chime in anyway. 

1. Look at the "user friendliness" of the alternatives you offered to R. I haven't used SPSS recently or Stata at all but I know SAS is NOT that user friendly. Note that my institute has historically used Minitab for teaching our introductory course in biostatistics. 
2. Look for "user friendly" front ends to R. Professor John Fox has late beta software for teaching introductory statistics (see: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/jfox/Misc/Rcmdr/). If you would like to add procedures to those provided by the basic front end, Rcmdr is written so that you can. I plan to do that and teach a stand alone seminar on R through Rcmdr in the late fall or early winter.
3. Last year, outside of our biostatistics class, I taught a seminar on installing and basic use of command line R. At first, I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to fill the 20 seats in our computer lab. In response to my advertisement within WRAIR, I actually had to add three more sections. Classes were received enthusiastically and students stayed after each seminar for continued discussion. Unfortunately, the small number of students I consulted with subsequently indicated that they never used R after my seminar. 


Charles E. White, Senior Biostatistician, MS
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
503 Robert Grant Ave., Room 1w102
Silver Spring, MD 20910-1557
301 319-9781
Personal/Professional Site: http://users.starpower.net/cwhite571/professional/

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