R from a Standing Start

How to get moving and stay moving with R

This is a one day training course for NHS data analysts who are completely new to R. The course is taught assuming that you know nothing (or virtually nothing) about R but you want to know how to make R a part of your workflow.

R from a Standing Start avoids the 'curse of knowledge'. It has been designed by—and is facilitated by—someone who is new enough to R that they can still remember the frustrations and annoyances felt and experienced by absolute beginners.

Screenshot of R Studio for Session One of the course
In R from a Standing Start we builkd up the code step-by-step, creating dataframes as we go, establishing a sort of 'audit trail' of our steps.

The course is split into four 90-minute sessions. In each session we use the dplyr package to explore and analyse the data, and the ggplot2 package to create visualizations of the data. The exercises start simple, build up gently using lots of repetition (we only introduce complexities one at a time!), gradually building up your repertoire of functions and arguments. All the while you will be learning how to do useful things in R using real, fully anonymised, healthcare data.

Session 1 / Draw a histogram
The first session of the course shows how to do a basic import of an .xlsx file with one worksheet, then applies the five core functions of dplyr to it, then uses geom_histogram() from the package ggplot2 to draw a frequency distribution of Emergency Department length of stay in 15-minute time bands.

Session 2 / Draw a line chart
The second session adds small layers of complication to the first session. The import is still of an .xlsx file but this time it contains multiple worksheets. The dplyr functions get more of a workout, with the group_by() function being brought into service to bring the summarize() function to life. The finished chart is a line chart showing trends in Emergency Department weekly attendances during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Session 3 / Draw a horizontal bar chart
In the third session we import .csv data instead of .xlsx data. And we then have to address the complications this introduces by using functions from the lubridate within mutate(). We also learn how to deal with null values and missing values in our dataframes before developing our ggplot2 charting knowledge using geom_bar() and geom_col().

Session 4 / Draw a scatterplot
The final session builds on the skills learned and practiced in the earlier three sessions (we introduce if_else() within summarize() to help us create more meaningful summary tables) to create a scatterplot that explores the relationship between the age of people attending A&E and their likelihood of arriving via 999 Ambulance.

The course has been designed to be delivered conventionally or virtually (via Microsoft Teams). Each participant will need their own laptop and we will work through a series of exercises together. All of the installation instructions will be circulated well in advance of the course (and help will be given to people who experience installation issues) so that we minimise the risk of technical glitches during the course itself.

R from a Standing Start can be booked as either an on-site face-to-face course or as a virtual course (via Microsoft Teams) for £1,250+VAT, and up to 12 participants can be accommodated in each workshop session. Email info@kurtosis.co.uk to start making arrangements.

No experience of R is needed for this training course.