Teaching Statistics Using R

This page is devoted to materials that will help students learn how to analyze their data using the statistical programming language R. You can download R here. If you would also like to use the program RStudio, you can download it for free here. At Vassar we have a web server version of RStudio which you can access and login to with your Vassar OneLogin password (email Chris Gahn in ACS to obtain an account).

There are two sections below. The first is dedicated to students of BIOL 106 or others looking for help with getting started with R.  The second is more advanced and can show you how to do very complex statistical analyses.

BIOL 106: Introduction to Biological Investigation
These resources have been designed with BIOL-106 in mind but may certainly be useful to others. Click on a topic below to watch a short instructional video, download a handout to help you get started, or download a sample dataset for use in the tutorials.  The materials below utilize a file (tadpole.csv) which WordPress won’t post for some reason, so please email me (jutouchon-at-vassar.edu) and I will gladly send it to you.

Tutorial videos (click on the title to watch a video on YouTube)

How to make objects in R
R as a calculator
Importing data into R
Reading a file into R
Subsetting data in R

Handouts and exercises (click on the title to download a pdf)

1. Introduction to R
2. Exploring and plotting data in R
3. Chi-square tests in R
4. Basic stats in R (e.g., t-test, ANOVA, etc.)


Advanced Statistical Analyses
In collaboration with the Office of Academic Programs at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, I have designed a series of modules for teaching statistics using the open source program R. These modules came out of a series of workshops I taught back in the day with Andy Jones and Stu Dennis.  R is by far the commonly used program for data analysis and graphing in Ecology (see my 2016 paper in Ecosphere for more details) and likely other fields of Biology as well. Below you can find various modules designed to allow you to teach yourself R, from basic tasks like how to import a data file to conducting mixed-effects models and advanced graphing techniques. The modules use a real dataset from an experiment I led studying the effects of predators and resources on red-eyed treefrog tadpole development (read the paper here).  Please feel free to download and use the materials below!  Unfortunately, this website won’t allow me to upload the .csv files that are referenced in the materials, so just email me (jutouchon-at-vassar.edu) and I will gladly send it to you.

The modules below were designed for an independent study course I taught in spring 2018 at Vassar College.  As with everything in R, there are many ways to do the same type of task.  These modules very much represent my perspective.  In addition, they are written in a way that tries to take statistics out of the language of math and statisticians and put it in a way that is understandable by biologists or other natural scientists. Hopefully you agree.  Please feel free to email me with feedback if you have any ideas about how they can be improved!

Module 1: Intro to R

Module 2: Exploratory Data Analysis and Plotting

Module 3: Basic Statistical Analyses

Module 4: More Linear Models

Module 5: Recap and skills building

Module 6: Generalized Linear Models

Module 7: Mixed Effects Models

Module 8: Writing Loops and Functions