Monthly Archives: January 2014

Getting started with R

As a psychologist, the software I have used for much of my career when analysing statistics is, of course, SPSS. Its simplicity has meant SPSS has been quite a good friend over the years. However, the friendship is (almost) over. There’s a new “best friend” for this researcher: R.

R is a free (yep, FREE) software environment for statistical computing. Although that description might sound intimidating, do not let it put you off. I love R. No, I REALLY mean it. Since I’ve been using R, my statistical life has become a dream. The beauty of R is that you can do almost ANYTHING you want to with it (it doesn’t make coffee, although a package might be available for that someday; hey, I can dream, can’t I?). Continue reading

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Exploring statistics via visual simulation

As the start of the research methods module I teach is fast approaching, I have been exploring new ways to try and get students more engaged with statistics. One aspect I believe increases student understanding—and dare I say it, enjoyment—of statistics is to get their hands dirty with lots of examples.

Although it would be great to get students to go off and collect lots of different data sets, each suitable for exploring a particular statistical test, a quicker alternative is perhaps to provide the data via computational simulation. Then, students can quickly explore new data sets in interesting ways. Continue reading

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