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Research Methods in R

Research Methods in R

2023 Edition.

Research Methods in R is a set of guides on how to use R as your central research methods tool. They are written by various authors, and curated by Andy Wills. The target audience is psychology undergraduate students. Research Methods in R is Creative Commons, so you are free to reuse these materials and adapt them as you wish, as long as you attribute them to their authors, and as long as your modifications have a Creative Commons licence. They come with absolutely no warranty of any kind.

Note to teachers: These materials have been tested against R version 4.2.1 (released 23rd June 2022), and the most recent version of packages that were available on MRAN on the 1st June 2022.

List of guides

Introductory quides

Start with ONE of these three options:

Intermediate guides

Next, go through BOTH of these guides.

Advanced guides

General resources

  1. Why R? Discussion of the advantages of R over other software packages.

  2. Pedagogy Discussion of philosophy of teaching and learning underlying these materials (mainly aimed at teachers).

  3. Who is using R? Partial list of psychology degree programmes around the world than use R.

  4. Other resources. A list of other Creative Commons resources about using R.

  5. Calculating your module mark. How to calculate a final module mark from your component marks, using R.

  6. Dealing with common errors. List of commonly-encountered errors and how to solve them.

  7. Case studies

Absolute Beginners’ Guide to R

A series of worksheets on using R for data analysis in psychology. No previous knowledge of R, or of psychology, is assumed.

Part 1

Part 2

Putting R to work

These are mainly further practice in the skills learned in Absolute Beginners’. Where the exercises contain completely new skills, these are shown in bold. Where the exercises extend a skill you’ve already been taught, these are shown in italics. The exercises become somewhat more difficult as you go down the list.

If you are a current undergraduate student at Plymouth University, you should complete the accompanying Psych:EL (Psychology: Experiential Learning) activity first, in order to generate your own set of data. If you’re not, you can download sample data files here.

A Very Brief Guide to R

The Absolute Beginners’ Guide to R and Putting R to Work provide, between them, about 20 hours of introductory material. For those in a hurry, the Very Brief Guide to R covers the most critical material from those two courses in about four hours.

Research Methods in Practice (Quantitative section)

These are intermediate-level materials. They are maintained by Ben Whalley on a separate site, but have been designed to fit in here in this sequence of materials. Only the quantitative section of Ben’s site contains information concerning the usage of R.

Intermediate Guide to R

These are intermediate-level materials. They provide analysis methods for conducting realistic, high-quality studies in psychology. They are aimed at a second-year undergraduate audience.

Going further with R

These are slightly more advanced materials, aimed at a final-year undergraduate psychology audience.

Case studies

These are full preprocessing and analysis pipelines, mainly based on final-year undergraduate psychology projects.

R for Pros

These worksheets go beyond what is taught in previous sections of RMINR. They are aimed at high-achieving undergraduates, as well as postgraduate students and professional researchers. They assume familiarity with material up to and including Going Further with R.

Source code

These teaching materials were generated using a combination of Markdown and RMarkdown. The full source code is available on github.


This material is distributed under a Creative Commons licence. CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Parts of this material have been adpated from these other Creative Commons materials:


Thanks to the following people for their feedback and advice on these materials:

Jackie Andrade, Eleanor Andrade May, Martyn Atkins, Patric Bach, Alison Bacon, Dale Barr, Nadège Bault, Chris Berry, Allegra Cattani, Laura Charlton, Lisa DeBruine, Charlotte Edmunds, Emily Filewood, Giorgio Ganis, Phil Gee, Michaela Gummerum, Yaniv Hanoch, Cathryn Harries, Jessica Hart, Sophie Homer, Courtney Hooton, Angus Inkster, Jasmin Jones, Peter Jones, Laith Kahn, Gokcek Kul Helen Lloyd, Chris Longmore, Jon May, Anthony Mee, Chris Mitchell, Millie Monks, Karol Nedza, Alyson Norman, Charlie Reynolds, Matt Roser, Paul Sharpe, Alastair Smith, Julian Stander, Sylvia Terbeck, Michael Verde, Clare Walsh, Ben Whalley.