Course Goals

  • R syntax: Learn the different ‘parts of speech’ in R and variables and functions, how functions work, and how to modify arguments for specific use cases.
  • Data structures in R: Understand the classes of data structures and types of data used by R.
  • Data inspection and wrangling: Read in data from files, and use indices and various functions to subset and create datasets (including the tidyverse suite of packages).
  • Visualizing data: Visualize data use plotting functions from the external package ggplot2.
  • Exporting data and graphics: Generate new data tables and plots for use outside of the R environment.

This online, hands-on learning resource serves as an introduction to R and RStudio. R is a simple programming environment that enables the effective handling of data, while providing excellent graphical support. RStudio is a tool that provides a user-friendly environment for working with R. This resource is intended to provide both basic R programming knowledge and information on utilizing R to increase efficiency in data analysis.

Although it is recommended to review this resource sequentially, users are able to view individual lessons of interest, or the entire online resource from start-to-finish at your own pace.


This resource is targeted toward novice R users and aimed at providing users with the foundation for understanding and using R for the analysis of data. This will be used as a prerequisite for more advanced workshops that will be offered in the future.

We believe that the research community is strengthened by understanding how a number of factors including gender identity, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, culture, religion, national origin, language, disability, and age shape the environment in which we live and work, affect each of our personal identities, and impacts all areas of human health.


The resource is only available to those affiliated with Harvard schools and institutions. Please note: Users will need a Harvard Key to access this resource.


Free for Harvard-affiliated schools and institutions


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