tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8909074830238091680.post5662164928261714359..comments2017-03-01T00:46:03.375+11:00Comments on Jeromy Anglim's Blog: Psychology and Statistics: Evaluating the Potential Incorporation of R into Research Methods Education in PsychologyJeromy Anglimnoreply@blogger.comBlogger5125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8909074830238091680.post-79018844895836833512014-08-15T19:57:28.721+10:002014-08-15T19:57:28.721+10:00Hi Jeremy and fellow readers. Thank you Jeremy for...Hi Jeremy and fellow readers. Thank you Jeremy for your interesting and informative post. I really appreciate the content on your blog and appreciate the effort you put into making it available.<br /><br />Similar to Michael Reinhard, I work at a small private institution where I cannot justify the licensing fees for SPSS. I also teach statistics and research methods to undergraduate students and made the switch to R about 4/5 years ago. Here in South Africa, the history of Apartheid and an educational system struggling to come to grips with its own socio-political context, means that students come in to study with frustratingly low levels of mathematical and computer literacy. Getting math-phobic students to grasp statistical concepts is difficult enough, making them sit in front of a console and type in commands is just too intimidating for most (as suggested by jrkrideau). For this reason I teach them using the Rcmdr package. It has all the statistical functions that I need, the students get to see the commands that are run, and I can get them to play around with functions and arguments in the script window to gradually ease them into programming their own scripts. The advantage of this approach is that it provides an easy middle ground between the SPSS mental model and the R approach. Rcmdr makes it possible for students to see and edit their data in a tabular format, they can choose operations using an intuitive and helpful (it often prevents irrational analytical options from being chosen) menu interface, and yet they can still load additional packages, and run additional functions to add to the default outputs. In terms of teaching materials, in the past I have used Howell's text and provided the students with a DVD that has a number of tutorials that goes through the analysis in R we cover and interpretation of output using examples. This is the downfall in using GUIs, it is not easy to incorporate their usage in texts without taking up a lot of space, but the DVD approach is useful. I have ordered Field's text but haven't had a chance to read it yet, and I just downloaded Navarro's book and will have a look at that when I get a chance. I would definitely like to transition to an R based text some time in the future. I prefer to teach my students in R because it is affordable to them and creates opportunities for those that really want to grow their knowledge and skills (it provides them with an asset they can continue using after they leave the class and a propriety licence would have expired). Also, as this post suggests (but you focus more on stats than research) it allows for transference of learning between subjects. For example, in my psychometrics class I refer them to functions for DIF or other concepts they are learning to play around with at home with using R. By giving them an opportunity to play with these functions they improve their understanding of concepts and retention of new material. <br />The biggest challenge and disadvantage of using R as a teaching medium is articulation options for students. Where I teach (WC province in SA) students entering any one of the big state universities for post-grad will have to transition to SPSS for their post-graduate work, they will not have the opportunity to develop their 1st level statistical skills (e.g.: linear models and basic descriptives) or learn 2nd level statistical approaches (e.g.: modelling approaches such as PLS, SEM, and CFA or other multivariate techniques). Only those that are very motivated and competent, will be able to go on make use of stackoverflow, youtube videos, or workshops to develop this kind of competence.<br /><br />Kind Regards,<br />ConradC.S.Zygmonthttp://www.blogger.com/profile/09735050366969025470noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8909074830238091680.post-33714236350453184972013-09-02T12:06:20.971+10:002013-09-02T12:06:20.971+10:00A minor comment : I really have to say that "...A minor comment : I really have to say that "An Introduction to R" is not something I would hand to a new R user from Psychology. It probably is okay for a statistiian or perhaps a programmer but my first encounter with it was not fun. I see it as an excellent reference text but most certainly not an intro. <br /><br />jrkrideauhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04869979887929067657noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8909074830238091680.post-49012672512711351642013-07-29T12:08:38.345+10:002013-07-29T12:08:38.345+10:00Andy Field's book uses R-Commander a bit. I se...Andy Field's book uses R-Commander a bit. I see R-Commander as a form of training wheels for R. Although it is an IDE for coding in R, RStudio certainly makes R a lot more user friendly.<br /><br />In terms of political science, John Fox has an R book, and he's grounded in sociology: <br />http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/jfox/Books/Companion/<br /><br />Gelman and Hill is also another option, but that's a bit more advanced.Jeromy Anglimhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/12949204812496382042noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8909074830238091680.post-59978442962991577412013-07-29T05:32:42.765+10:002013-07-29T05:32:42.765+10:00I have been considering making the switch to R mai...I have been considering making the switch to R mainly because of cost. My college, Millsaps in Jackson Mississippi, just can't afford SPSS for everyone. The one thing that is holding me back is the lack of textbooks that introduce political science through R. I have been using Pollack's text which is built around SPSS or Stata depending on which workbook students use. A political science text that has a workbook in R would be wonderful. <br /><br />I have been using R without a GUI. I have been dreading the idea of having to teach programming and statistics. I am interested in how the GUIs mentioned here like R-Commander compare to SPSS for ease of use? Have any instructors out there made the switch? Michael Reinhardhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/12053505195335230686noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8909074830238091680.post-33327890221108931042013-07-18T20:48:23.290+10:002013-07-18T20:48:23.290+10:00One major advantage that I have found with the swi...One major advantage that I have found with the switch to using R rather than SPSS, is that my fundamental understanding of the statistical procedures dramatically increase... all my statistics classes in undergrad would have been so much more meaningful if I could so easily alter parameters of the data and directly observe changes in results.Charles Driverhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/06282020582453523135noreply@blogger.com