Data visualization using R for researchers who do not use R

Nordmann, E. , McAleer, P. , Toivo, W., Paterson, H. and Debruine, L. M. (2022) Data visualization using R for researchers who do not use R. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 5(2), p. 25152459221074654. (doi: 10.1177/25152459221074654)

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In addition to benefiting reproducibility and transparency, one of the advantages of using R is that researchers have a much larger range of fully customizable data visualizations options than are typically available in point-and-click software because of the open-source nature of R. These visualization options not only look attractive but also can increase transparency about the distribution of the underlying data rather than relying on commonly used visualizations of aggregations, such as bar charts of means. In this tutorial, we provide a practical introduction to data visualization using R specifically aimed at researchers who have little to no prior experience of using R. First, we detail the rationale for using R for data visualization and introduce the “grammar of graphics” that underlies data visualization using the ggplot package. The tutorial then walks the reader through how to replicate plots that are commonly available in point-and-click software, such as histograms and box plots, and shows how the code for these “basic” plots can be easily extended to less commonly available options, such as violin box plots. The data set and code used in this tutorial and an interactive version with activity solutions, additional resources, and advanced plotting options are available at

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Toivo, Dr Wilhelmiina and Nordmann, Dr Emily and DeBruine, Professor Lisa and McAleer, Dr Phil and Paterson, Dr Helena
Authors: Nordmann, E., McAleer, P., Toivo, W., Paterson, H., and Debruine, L. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):2515-2459
Published Online:27 April 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science 5(2): 25152459221074654
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
172112KINSHIP: How do humans recognise kin?Lisa DeBruineEuropean Research Council (ERC)647910Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging