Session: Using R and Rmarkdown to Create Reproducible Research (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

42 Using R and Rmarkdown to Create Reproducible Research

Thursday, January 13, 2022: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Independence BR H, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Charles Auerbach, PhD, , Christine Vyshedsky, PhD, Yeshiva University, Hanni Flaherty, PHD, Yeshiva University and Susan Mason, PhD, Yeshiva University
R, a robust, free, open-source statistical programming language, is an underused resource in social work research (The R Project for Statistical Computing, n.d.). It can be used in lieu of proprietary statistical software packages such as SPSS, SAS, and Stata (Auerbach & Zeitlin, 2015). R can be used to analyze group and time series data easily, and it can produce powerful graphs that are easily interpretable. It can be installed on almost any computing platform, making it easy for students to use regardless of whether they use personal computers or Apple products. In this workshop participants will learn how to utilize RMarkdown to present R findings in a well-ordered and reproducible manner. RMarkdown is a plain text formatting syntax that makes writing research reports simple. The language provides a simple syntax that formats text such as headers, lists, boldface, etc. This language is popular, and you will find many apps that are compatible with it. For example, combined with R packages, users can easily create tables and graphics to present their research findings. Another important feature of this markdown language is that it will make your findings reproducible in that all of your files are connected. Thus, if there are changes to your data, rerunning the analysis is simple. As Baumer & Udwin (2015) suggest, an RMarkdown document links computation, output, and written analysis to enhance transparency, clarity, and ease to reproduce the research. Furthermore, sharing data is only a click away (Baumer & Udwin, 2015). RMarkdown can save and execute R code and create high-quality reports from a single file. Doing so provides greater insight into your results and clearly displays what you did to analyze your data. Furthermore, RMarkdown makes it possible for other clinicians/researchers to replicate findings. RMarkdown is a straightforward language that allows you to create documents with headings, text, images, margins, etc. to enhance the communication of the findings produced by R. Documents created in R Markdown can be saved in different file formats such as doc, pdf, or HTML. This workshop will begin by explaining how to obtain the software necessary to work with R and RMarkdown quickly and easily. The presenters will spend the remainder of the session demonstrating how to create basic graphs of group and single-subject data using R. The presenters will share data and scripts so participants can step through examples at their leisure. The presenters will demonstrate the use of these tools to produce reproducible research. Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops to the workshop and work through the examples as they are explained. The participants will also be provided with a link to download scripts and example datasets.
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