Skip to Main Content

Digital Scholarship: R and RStudio

An introduction to the process of using R and additional resources for moving forward.

R and RStudio

For help with R, or to schedule class visits or workshops, please contact David Beales, Digital Scholarship Partner at the Kelvin Smith Library.

R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics.  It utilizes a library of thousands of packages for a wide variety of statistical and data visualization purposes.  There is a strong interdisciplinary user community.

RStudio is a free IDE for R that provides tools for code, data and workspace management.  We recommend that you install RStudio alongside R from the beginning as it greatly reduces the learning curve.

CWRU also has access to the Constellate Platform for teaching text analysis and coding.  This includes a cloud based instance of RStudio which is built to support sharing of lessons and  examples

The tidyverse and ggplot2

If you are new to R, start with the tidyverse.

The tidyverse - - is a collection of R packages for data science. The packages are designed to work together through the entire data lifecycle, from discovery to communication of conclusions.  The visualization elements are based on the influential Grammar of Graphics by Leland Wilkinson. 

The R for Data Science online textbook (2017) is the recommend textbook for learning about R and the tidyverse.  This is a complete and free online resource.  There is also a work-in-progress 2nd edition (2023) -

Posit hosts a complete set of cheatsheets for the tidyverse.


ggplot2 is a longtime fixture in R when it comes to data visualization, and a piece of the tidyverse.  There is also a complete course in an online ebook for ggplot. 

ggplot2: Elegant Graphics for Data Analysis

by Hadley Wickham, Danielle Navarro, and Thomas Lin Pedersen

Making Interactive Plots for R

Mapping Census Data Tutorials for R

Text Mining Tutorials for R

Journals and Communities