SWD 1b: Introduction to R programming

Course content

PLEASE NOTE: This course runs as a series of four half-day workshops, usually one week apart. Please do not apply for this course unless you are able to attend ALL the sessions.

This is an introduction to programming in R for people with little or no previous programming experience. It uses plotting and visualising data as its motivating example based on an established research dataset.

The course is suitable for attendees from all research domains and we will use a Web based programming environment (a Jupyter Notebook and R Studio) which means you will be able to apply the ideas you learn on the course straightaway without having to install any software at home or at work.

In the course we will cover the following:

  • How to run R programs
  • Storing data in computer programs (using variables and data types)
  • Using built in functions in programs
  • Avoiding and fixing errors in programs
  • Using software other people have written (packages)
  • Reading tabular data and simple statistical analysis
  • Plotting data
  • Storing multiple values using lists
  • Repeating things using LOOPS
  • Creating functions
  • Making programs do different things for different data (Conditionals: IF statements)
  • Writing simple tests: making sure our programs behave properly
  • Programming style



This is an introductory course for people with little or no programming experience, in Python or any other programming language.


Four half-day sessions


This course usually runs once each academic year.


This course of four half-day workshops is suitable for all research staff and students.


This course can be booked through the IT Training Unit. Click here to book.