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Course Description

R is one of the most important scripting languages for both experimental and computational biologists. It is well-designed, efficient, widely adopted and has a very large base of contributors who add new functionality for all modern aspects of data analysis and visualization. Moreover, it is free and open source. However, R’s great power and expressiveness can at first be difficult to approach without guidance, especially for those who are new to programming. This workshop introduces the essential ideas and tools of R. Although this workshop will cover running statistical tests in R, it does not cover statistical concepts.

Course Objectives

Participants will gain practical experience and skills to be able to:

  • Meet the challenges of data handling
  • Break down problems into structured parts
  • Use R syntax, functions and packages
Target Audience

Graduates, postgraduates, and PIs who design and execute strategies for data analysis but have little or no familiarity with the R statistical workbench. This workshop is designed to lead on to the two-day workshop on Analysis using R, which follows it.


You will also require your own laptop computer. Minimum requirements: 1024×768 screen resolution, 1.5GHz CPU, 2GB RAM, 10GB free disk space, recent versions of Windows, Mac OS X or Linux (Most computers purchased in the past 3-4 years likely meet these requirements). 

This workshop requires participants to complete pre-workshop tasks and readings.

Course Outline

Module 1: Getting to Know R

  • The environment and the user interface
  • How to get help and where to find information
  • Syntax and language principles
  • Data types: numbers, time and factors, strings and text
  • Data classes: vectors, matrices, lists, dataframes and hashes
  • Reading data into the R environment
  • Accessing your data once it’s in R
  • Manipulating data in R
  • Subsetting (slicing, filtering and reshaping)
  • Accessing packages

Module 2: Exploring your data in R

  • Creating base R plots
  • Scatter plot, line plot, histogram, boxplot, bar plot
  • Customizing your plots
  • Changing colors, sizes, labels, legends, and more
  • Multi-panel plots and changing R plotting dimensions
  • Introducing specialized plotting packages

Module 3: Loops and functions in R

  • Handling repetitive actions in R
  • Writing custom loops
  • Principles of generalized code 
  • Writing custom functions 

Module 4: Linear Regression

  • Working with continuous data
  • Fitting a linear model
  • Visualizing linear models
  • Exploring model output
  • Using a linear model for predictions
  • Principles of writing “good” code
Workshop Details:

Duration: 2 days

Start: Jun 11, 2024

End: Jun 12, 2024

Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Course Mode:

Status: Registration Closed

Workshop Ended

CAD $495 for applications received between February 7, 2024 to April 20, 2024
CAD $695 for applications received between April 21, 2024 to May 30, 2024
Limited to: 30 participants
Lead Instructors:
Open Access Content:

Canadian Bioinformatics Workshops promotes open access. Past workshop content is available under a Creative Commons License.


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