Statistics with R: Workshop for UI-IITA researchers
In a bid to improve the statistics knowledge of researchers at the University of Ibadan (UI) and IITA, the Carnegie Africa Diaspora Fellowship organized a workshop on statistics with R at IITA headquarters in Ibadan. The workshop was held 18 June to 3 July to complement the statistics training of graduate students and scientists of the University and IITA. It focused on enhancing the programming skills of participants as it is expected that more graduate students will opt for the use of R in their research at the end of the training.
The statistics with R workshop began with a one-week introduction to Statistics and Econometrics, followed by two weeks of data analysis and exercises. The subjects covered in the applied section of the course ranged from basic cross tabulation and plotting trends to advanced-level regressions.
For most purposes, R is free to anyone with access to the Internet as obtaining licenses for packages like STATA and SARS can be expensive. In addition, it provides access to a versatile and free data analysis tool. R addresses several challenges faced by young researchers in the Nigerian context, where resources are limited.
The instructor for the workshop, Dr Michael Olabisi described R as a programming language like FORTRAN and C+, stating that it is accessible and easy to understand. It combines programming language and statistical analysis platform.
In addition, Olabisi noted that some of the alumni of the previous workshop have published papers in reputable journals in Nigeria. For the sustainability of this project, he said an online community has been created, where participants can share codes and ask questions, all to enhance communication and learning.
Kolade Olupademi, a PhD student of the Agricultural Economics Department, University of Ibadan and a participant at the workshop, said that prior to the training, he was completely ignorant of R as a package for analysis. At the end of the training he said he now has more confidence and better insight into the R environment to explore further by himself.
An IITA research administration manager, Bunmi Bossey, said the training was relevant because R is a basic programming tool that can be used for analysis and for preparing good graphics for publication.