Getting Started

1.1 How to use this book

Try to put yourself in one of the following categories, then go to the appropriate category heading within this section to find some suggestions about how you might get best value from this book:

  • Beginner in both computing and statistics (Section 1.1.1);
  • Student needing help with project work (1.1.2);
  • Done some R and some statistics, but keen to learn more of both (1.1.3);
  • Done regression and ANOVA, but want to learn more advanced statistical modelling (1.1.4);
  • Experienced in statistics, but a beginner in R (1.1.5);
  • Experienced in computing, but a beginner in R (1.1.6);
  • Familiar with statistics and computing, but need a friendly reference manual (1.1.7).

1.1.1 Beginner in both computing and statistics

The book is structured principally with you in mind. There are six key things to learn: how to arrange your data, how to read the data into R, how to check the data once within R, how to select the appropriate statistical model and apply it correctly, how to interpret the output, and how to present the analysis for publication. It is essential that you understand the basics thoroughly before trying to do the more complicated things, so study Chapters 3–6 carefully to begin with. Do all of the exercises that are illustrated in the text on your own computer. Now you need to do the hard part, which is selecting the right statistics to use. Model choice is extremely important, and is the thing that will develop most with experience. Do not ...

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