ESDS Government has produced a new guide, The R Guide to ESDS Large-Scale Government Surveys. The aim of this guide is to provide an introduction to analysing large scale government surveys with the help of the R statistical software package. This document is targeted at two categories of users:
1. Those outside higher education, or who do not have access to one of the commonly used statistical packages such as Stata, SPSS or SAS (as R is free of charge) but who would like to conduct their own analysis beyond what is usually published by data producers such as the Office for National Statistics (for example statistics for specific groups of the population).
2. More advanced users who are already familiar with one of the aforementioned packages but would like to learn how to carry out their analyses in R. The guide, therefore, focuses on providing step-by-step examples of common operations most users carry out in the course of their research: how to open data sets, do basic data manipulation operations, produce simple descriptive statistics or weighted contingency tables. This is meant to provide the first category of users with a range of procedures that will help them produce straightforward and robust analyses tailored to their needs without spending too much time on learning the inner workings of R. The second category of users will find a number of familiar operations from which they will be able to further expand their R skills.
It should be noted however that this guide is not an introduction to R. Beginners should use it in conjunction with one of the more comprehensive guides available online. Links and information about R resources are available at the end of the guide, which is available from http://www.esds.ac.uk/government/resources/analysis/