R is incredibly powerful software for data analysis and visualization. And it’s free.
Using R you can do all of the data work you do in Excel, SPSS, SAS, Stata, or whatever other software you’re using. And, you can do so much more. Automatically generate reports, interactive dashboards, maps — R is an all-purpose tool that can completely transform how you work with data.
Why we use R: Eric
As an independent researcher and program evaluator, R provides me with the analytic tools I am accustomed to using (as well as new tools as I encounter the need for them), at no cost. The more I have learned, and continue to learn, about R the more excited I become about its capabilities. I now look back at report I worked on years ago that involved hacking together a combination of tools, including DOS (yes, really!) to produce custom reports. Were I to do something similar today, I would expect to use R to do it all: obtain, clean, analyze, visualize my data, and produce complex reports to serve the needs of my clients.
Why we use R: David
On my R journey, I’ve had two aha moments that have really convinced me of its power.
One of these moments came when I realized how quickly I could merge two data sources. I had spent hours fighting with hlookups and vlookups in Excel and they never seemed to work. When I realized that I could use the join functions in R to merge two sources of data, it was a mind-blowing moment.
My second aha moment came when I realized how much mapping I could do in R. I often work on projects with geographic components and R has enabled me to produce amazing graphics to use in them. The map below, for example, was produced as part of a project on Outdoor School in Oregon.