Data Analysis and Presentation using R and R Studio

Topic: Module 1: Getting Started with R and RStudio

Coordinator: Dr Michael Meehan –

Dates: 13 July – 7 August 2020

Time: Monday 2:00 – 3:00 pm

Venue: Online only. Collaborate meeting details will be circulated prior to Week 1

Registration: Please send your Expression of Interest to

Expression of Interest: In your EOI please provide the following information:

  1. Full name
  2. Student ID (8 digit number)
  3. Degree enrolled
  4. Please indicate whether you plan on completing the entire module for PD credit?
    Preference will be given to candidates who commit to undertake the whole module


Data analysis and presentation using R and RStudio comprises a series of modules that are designed to build participants’ capacity to handle, describe, display and analyse research data using the free software R and the environment where R is most often run – RStudio. The first module in the series is an introduction to R and RStudio and how to use them. The second module will cover the kinds of statistical techniques normally covered in an introductory statistics course, and how to execute them in R. The remaining modules will cover a variety of more advanced statistical programming techniques that are frequently required by researchers. These later modules assume familiarity with the material in the first two, but participants can otherwise pick and choose to suit their needs.  More details on these modules will be provided later this year.

R is first and foremost a computer language, and learning to use it well – like learning any language – takes practice. Each module in the series provides a walk-through self-paced tutorial with code, output, and examples that participants are expected to execute for themselves to produce appropriate output, plus exercises that use and reinforce the skills demonstrated in the examples. Each of the “live” tutorials delivered in each module will discuss any difficulties experienced by participants and make sure that people can handle the exercise problems.

Subject to successful completion, eligible participants will receive credit towards the Elective Component requirements of RD7003 Professional Development, as outlined below.

Course description

This first module in the series, Getting Started with R and RStudio, introduces R and RStudio, and will endeavour to leave participants at a stage where they understand the basics of the language and can comfortably use it to manipulate data and display it graphically in appropriate ways. The course will be delivered through a self-guided workbook that contains multiple exercises; this will be supplemented by weekly online tutorial sessions to review student progress and answer questions.

The first version of R was written in 1995 by two New Zealand statisticians – Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman – as teaching software. Its popularity quickly exceeded the expectations of its developers and has only continued to grow since then. The ability to use it is now an essential skill for anyone involved in data analysis. Because it is free and open-source, it has become the environment where almost all new analytical methods first appear: if an analysis is possible at all, it will probably be possible in R. The online user community is immense and growing, with many websites dedicated to assisting both novice and experienced users with problems.

But first you need to understand the basics of the language, how it is structured, and how it sees and displays data – that is what this module aims to develop.

Learning outcomes

  • Familiarity with the use of RStudio as an environment for the R language.
  • Ability to devise and execute commands in the R language.
  • Understanding of R functions and data structures.
  • Ability to manipulate, transform and summarize data in R.
  • Ability to produce high-quality and appropriate graphs in R.


Completion of the module will require approximately 20 hours’ total commitment that may be credited towards RD7003 Professional Development. Participation will involve:

  • Online, weekly tutorial sessions (run over four weeks) using Collaborate.
  • Independent completion of tutorial chapters and exercises prior to sessions 2-4.
  • Completion and submission within 24 hours of release of a final set of exercises for assessment.


Getting Started with R and RStudio is open to all JCU Higher Degree by Research candidates regardless of their stage of candidature or organisational unit of enrolment. Candidates wishing to use the module for credit toward RD7003 will need to comply with assessment requirements detailed below.  Please note that a strict limit of 15 participants will apply to this module, and preference will be given to candidates seeking to undertake the entire module for PD credit.


Credit towards RD7003 Professional Development is dependent on compliance with requirements set out in the relevant subject outline. All questions regarding RD7003 requirements should be directed to the Graduate Research School (

Completion of the course will require: (1) completion of the assigned workbook chapters; (2) attendance and participation in the tutorial sessions; (3) submission of a final assessment, which will be graded either satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

  • Participation. Those participants seeking credit toward RD7003 are expected to complete all relevant exercises in the assigned workbook and participate in all tutorials. In the event of circumstances beyond their control participants should contact the subject coordinator as soon as possible to explain the problem.
  • Final assessment. All participants seeking credit toward RD7003 should complete and submit solutions to a set of assessment exercises provided at the final tutorial session.







13 July


Pre-recorded lecture


20 July

Commands and functions

Chapters 1-2 review exercises, First tutorial


27 July

Handling data in R

Chapters 3-4 review exercises, Second tutorial


3 Aug


Chapters 5-6 review exercises, Final tutorial


5 Aug

Final assessment

24-hour take-home assignment