Summary and Analysis of Extension Program Evaluation in R

Salvatore S. Mangiafico

Using R

R and RStudio


This book will use the software package R Project for Statistical Computing to create plots and conduct statistical analyses.  It is free to install on a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer.  Although it is not required, I also recommend using RStudio, which is also free.


Links to websites where the software can be obtained are included in the “Obtaining R” section in the “Required Readings” below.


Using the RStudio environment


RStudio provides a nice work environment because it presents several windows on the screen that make it easy to view code, results, and plots at once. 


Program code can be worked on in the upper left Script window.  If that window isn’t displayed, it can be opened with  File  >  New File  >  R Script.  Code in the Script window is selected, and the Run button is used to run the code.  The results are reported in the Console window on the lower right.  Code can be saved as an .r or .R file, and those files should subsequently open automatically with RStudio


As an alternative, code can be pasted directly in the Console window. 


The lower right window will usually show either plot results or help results.



As far as I know, R should be installed first.  And then when RStudio is installed, you will tell RStudio where R is installed on the machine.  Links to obtain this software are in the Obtaining R in the Required Readings below.


Using the R Console environment


If you are not using RStudio, code is pasted directly into the R GUI Console.  Results are produced in the Console as code is entered, and plots will open in a separate window.


What if I don’t have my own computer?


If you don’t have your own computer on which to install the software, there are a few options.


Portable installation on a usb drive

One solution is to install R Portable on a portable usb drive.  You can then run this software on university or other computers directly from that drive, if the computer is set up to give you permission to do so.  You should check to see if you will have permission to run portable software from a usb drive on these computers.


Using university computers

R and RStudio are installed on Rutgers University computers in computer laboratories.  You should check with the individual computer lab, and make sure you will have permission to install additional R packages on those machines.


Using R online

There are websites on which you can run R in an online environment.  r-fiddle.org is one such site.  However, I have had trouble using some R packages used in this book on r-fiddle.



R and RStudio are also included in the apps.rutgers.edu environment.  You can log in at apps.rutgers.edu with your Rutgers Net ID.  Then,  Desktop  >  Menu  >  Development  >  R Studio.  In general, I have not found this to be the most convenient environment to work in.  Working on a laptop, I have found that I had to zoom out with the browser zoom to see the whole virtual desktop on my screen.  To transfer text to the desktop environment, paste the text into the clipboard using the clipboard icon at the upper right of the screen.  Also, I have had trouble trying to install additional R packages in this environment.


Tests for package installation


If you are unsure if you can install additional R packages in the environment you are working in, try the two examples below.  The psych and FSA packages may take a while for their initial installation.  The code for you to run is in blue, and the output is in red.  The output is truncated here.


Don’t worry too much about what the code is doing at this point.  The main point is to see if you can get output from both the psych and FSA packages.


The code assigns a vector of numbers to Score, and a vector of text strings to Student.  It then combines those two into a data frame called Data, which is then printed.  The summary function counts the values in Student, and determines the median and other statistics for Score.  The psych package is installed, then loaded with the library function, and then is used to output summary statistics for Score for each Student.  The same is then done with the FSA package.


Remember to run only the blue code.  The red code is the (truncated) output R should produce.

Score = c(10, 9, 8, 7, 7, 8, 9, 10, 6, 5, 4, 9, 10, 9, 10)
Student = c("Bugs", "Bugs", "Bugs", "Bugs","Bugs",
            "Daffy", "Daffy", "Daffy", "Daffy", "Daffy",
            "Taz", "Taz", "Taz", "Taz", "Taz")

Data = data.frame(Student, Score)


   Student Score
1     Bugs    10
2     Bugs     9
3     Bugs     8
4     Bugs     7
5     Bugs     7
6    Daffy     8
7    Daffy     9
8    Daffy    10
9    Daffy     6
10   Daffy     5
11     Taz     4
12     Taz     9
13     Taz    10
14     Taz     9
15     Taz    10


  Student      Score      
 Bugs :5   Min.   : 4.000 
 Daffy:5   1st Qu.: 7.000 
 Taz  :5   Median : 9.000 
           Mean   : 8.067 
           3rd Qu.: 9.500 
           Max.   :10.000



describeBy(x = Score,
           group = Student)

group: Bugs
  vars n mean  sd median trimmed  mad min max range skew kurtosis   se
1    1 5  8.2 1.3      8     8.2 1.48   7  10     3 0.26    -1.96 0.58
group: Daffy
  vars n mean   sd median trimmed  mad min max range  skew kurtosis   se
1    1 5  7.6 2.07      8     7.6 2.97   5  10     5 -0.11    -2.03 0.93
group: Taz
  vars n mean   sd median trimmed  mad min max range  skew kurtosis   se
1    1 5  8.4 2.51      9     8.4 1.48   4  10     6 -0.97    -1.04 1.12



Summarize(Score ~ Student,

  Student n mean       sd min Q1 median Q3 max percZero
1    Bugs 5  8.2 1.303840   7  7      8  9  10        0
2   Daffy 5  7.6 2.073644   5  6      8  9  10        0
3     Taz 5  8.4 2.509980   4  9      9 10  10        0

Required readings


The following readings are required for this chapter.  You can read them at the individual links below, or as chapters in the pdf version of the R Companion to the Handbook of Biological Statistics (rcompanion.org/documents/RCompanionBioStatistics.pdf).


About R



Obtaining R



A Few Notes to Get Started with R



Avoiding Pitfalls in R



Help with R



R Tutorials



References for this chapter


Mangiafico, S.S. 2015. An R Companion for the Handbook of Biological Statistics, version 1.09.

rcompanion.org/rcompanion/. (Pdf version: rcompanion.org/documents/RCompanionBioStatistics.pdf.)


Exercises A


•  Install R and RStudio on your computer, or determine how you will access this software.  Be sure that you will be able to install additional R packages (as in “Tests for package installation” above).


•  Run the sample code snippets in the “Required readings” above, and in the “Tests for package installation above”.  Try understanding the code.  Modify the data in the examples and examine the output.  You should be comfortable running short programs in R and examining the results before continuing with this book.  It will also be helpful if you are able to export plots to pdf or image files, and to query R for help with specific functions.