I started using R several years ago to analyze data I had collected for my research in
graduate school. My motivation at first was to escape from the restrictive environments
and canned analyses offered by statistical programs like SPSS. And even better, because
it’s freely available, I didn’t need to convince someone to buy me a copy of the software—
very important for a poor graduate student! As I delved deeper into R, I discovered that
it could also create excellent data graphics.
Each recipe in this book lists a problem and a solution. In most cases, the solutions I
offer aren’t the only way to do things in R, but they are, in my opinion, the best way.
One of the reasons for R’s popularity is that there are many available add-on packages,
each of which provides some functionality for R. There are many packages for visualizing
data in R, but this book primarily uses ggplot2. (Disclaimer: it’s now part of my job to
do development on ggplot2. However, I wrote much of this book before I had any idea
that I would start a job related to ggplot2.)
This book isn’t meant to be a comprehensive manual of all the different ways of creating
data visualizations in R, but hopefully it will help you figure out how to make the graphics
you have in mind. Or, if you’re not sure what you want to make, browsing its pages may
give you some ideas about what’s possible.
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