Introduction to R

Date: 24 October 2019
Time: 9.45am–5pm
Instructor: Peter Smyth
Level: Introductory
Fee: £195 (£140 for those from educational, government and charitable institutions). 

CMI offers up to five subsidised places at a reduced rate of £60 per course day to research staff and students within Humanities at The University of Manchester. These places are awarded in order of application. 

Humanities PGR students at The University of Manchester can apply for a methods@manchester bursary to help cover their costs. All applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis and applicants will be required to provide a supporting statement from their supervisor.

Please click here to make a booking. If you are applying for a subsidised place, select the £60 University of Manchester option on the booking form. For queries about methods@manchester bursaries, contact (please note, you must have a confirmed place on the course before requesting a bursary application form). For any other queries about short courses, please contact

Please note: this is not guaranteed and is considered on a case by case basis. Please contact us for more information.


Practically all research now involves the use and manipulation of data. An appreciation of how data can be manipulated into forms and shapes which can immediately assist your research is an obvious advantage. In addition, a basic understanding of data analysis techniques using R programming allows you to imagine further possibilities for the data, enhancing your research.

This Introduction to R course is for any researcher who has data they want to analyse using the R programming language. No prior computational experience is required. This is a hands-on course which provides an introduction to the R programming language and commonly used extension packages using the popular RStudio environment.

Examples of using R and R packages to perform data and statistical analysis as well as basic mapping tasks will be demonstrated and the required code discussed.

Course objectives

On completion of this workshop, the participants will be able to:

  • Install R and RStudio on their own machine
  • Be familiar with the RStudio GUI layout
  • Understand R Variables, data types and objects
  • Understand the use of Vectors and Dataframes
  • Understand how to get help and make use of R libraries
  • Read datasets of different formats into the R environment
  • Perform data cleaning and data manipulation using core R and the ‘tidyverse’ package
  • Perform simple and some not so simple visualisations of data using the ‘ggplot2’ package
  • Appreciate how such things as statistical analysis, machine learning and mapping of data can be performed using a variety of the R packages readily available.

After completion of this course the participant will be able to create their own R environment and have confidence in using it to produce effective R programs for a variety of data and statistical analysis tasks.



Recommended reading

About the instructor

Peter Smyth is a Research Associate at the University of Manchester, based in the Cathie Marsh Institute. He has spent 35 years working in IT at various large and small commercial organisations before taking an MSc in Big Data Analytics at Sheffield Hallam University and moving into academia. In his previous roles he used any convenient programming environment to hand to solve problems. Now he teaches a variety of programming languages to help others to do the same.

He is a qualified Data and Software Carpentry instructor.