Skip to main content

Transitioning to R

This learning and teaching innovation project was funded by the Teaching Development Shape Fund in 2022/23



Project status

In progress


Project started on 1 Aug 2023

Project Lead: Dr James Fern, Department for Health

The project, which was funded by the Teaching Development Fund (TDF) Shape in 2022/23, the aim of the project is to support staff and students in a Department wide move to using the open-source software R and RStudio, when teaching and learning research methods and statistics. R and RStudio provide a wide range of statistical and graphical tools that can be used to analyse and visualize data. For example, R and RStudio can be used to clean and prepare data, conduct statistical analyses, create graphs and plots to visualize data and illustrate statistical results. Traditionally in higher education, ‘point and click’ software such as SPSS has been the default software package for this purpose. However, in the age of ‘big data’ employers are increasingly requiring graduates to be familiar with data analysis and visualisation using programming language in an integrated development environment. In addition, the costs associated with SPSS prohibit most graduates from using the software after leaving University. By making R and RStudio the platform upon which we teach research methods and statistics, students can learn how to apply statistical techniques to real-world data, gain experience working with data in an environment employers value, and can continue to utilise these skills after graduation and throughout their future careers.

Dr Fern will report back in summer 2024.