Introduction to R for SPSS Users

Does learning R by programming feel like smashing your head into a brick wall?
Hesitant to let go of your menu-driven software like SPSS?

It’s time to make R your friend.

We’re sorry but this workshop is not currently enrolling.
Please join our waiting list to receive a notification when it is offered again.

“…Before this material, I had tried to learn about R on my own, but honestly, it felt like a swamp. This was a GREAT introduction for someone looking to mimic R in what SPSS does.”

— Carol Skay, Introduction to R for SPSS Users Student
Independent Research Consultant

So you’re a dedicated SPSS user. Or maybe you love JMP. Or, for that matter, any menu-based stat software program.

But every once in awhile, you get stuck.

Your software, as familiar as it is, can’t do something you need.

Or it requires purchasing an expensive add-on module(which isn’t in the budget).

R, on the other hand, is versatile, flexible, and FREE.

But… It’s got a STEEP learning curve and can quickly become overwhelming. Who’s got months to spend learning the ropes?

Here’s the good news:

You don’t have to be out of the R loop.


R for SPSS Users:
A User-Friendly Introduction to R without Programming

A 4-Module Online, Live Interactive Workshop

“The entire workshop was very helpful for me. I started to use R Commander right after the webinar!”

— Mehrdad Jalali-Ghajar, Introduction to R for SPSS Users Student
Vice President, Global Research Analytics at Ipsos ASI

I’m Trent D. Buskirk, workshop instructor for R for SPSS Users: A User-Friendly Introduction to R without Programming.

My goal is that by the end of the workshop, you will learn enough about R and how to use these free tools to get started with many statistical analyses, without overwhelm, without stress — even if you’ve never opened R before!

In this four-module live, online workshop, you’ll learn:

  • An overall orientation to R
  • Five different R packages, including what they are and how to install them.
  • How to use R Commander and LessR to read in data files from Excel, Stata, SPSS, etc.
  • How to use R Commander for data manipulation, variable creation, graphics, and common analyses including:
    — Chi-square tests
    — ANOVA
    — linear and logistic regression
    — and more!
  • How to use R Commander to learn syntax much like SPSS’s paste syntax capabilities
  • How lessR can simplify scripting in R (i.e., shorten syntax) needed for major analyses of interest like linear regression

“I left the workshop feeling like I could begin tackling R on my own.”

— Mary Ehmann, Introduction to R for SPSS Users Student Research Scientist, Pearson Education

Who Is This Workshop For?

This workshop is for you if:

  • Are an avid SPSS, Minitab, or JMP user who needs more functionality or better graphing capabilities
  • Have heard the hype about R but are anxious about tackling non-menu-based software
  • Have tried learning R before but have gotten frustrated or lost
  • Like the user-friendly interface of SPSS and other menu-driven software packages, but don’t have the budget for all the add-ons
  • Occasionally use R, but not often enough to remember all the commands and want a way to easily refresh your member every time you come back to it

It’s not for you if:

  • Are comfortable navigating R consoles
  • Can already use editors like Rstudio, or packages like R Commander and LessR

“Trent is extremely knowledgeable and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have learned from him… The workshop was definitely a worthwhile investment.”

— Krista Schumacher, Introduction to R for SPSS Users Student Technical Writer, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Systems Innovation and Center for Rural Health

How Does It Work?

This course is a 4-module live, interactive online workshop from July 18 to August 7.

All sessions are conducted online via live webinar. You can log in via phone or Internet. You’ll see the instructor’s screen to view the presentation… all from your own home or office.

During each webinar session, the instructor will review concepts and then demonstrate how to implement those same procedures in R.

Each session, there will also be plenty of time to ask your own questions.

Have more questions? No problem!

In addition to the four module sessions, you’ll also meet with your instructor for three additional Q&A sessions where you can get additional assistance on workshop concepts, deepen your knowledge, and clarify any questions.


All 4 Workshop Modules and 3 Q&A Sessions Are Recorded for Your Convenience.


As a participant in the Introduction to R for SPSS Users workshop, you’ll have access to a participant-only website, your workshop “hub.” That’s where you’ll access all workshop resources and material, including:


  • Data sets in various formats.

    You’ll learn how to easily import them into R with just a few menu clicks. No programming necessary.

  • PDF handouts of presentation slides.

    Made available ahead of each session so you can download, print out, and take notes as you follow along.

  • Video screen capture recordings of each workshop session.

    Made available within 48 hours after each session so you can review the material at your convenience. If you miss any of the live sessions, you can still participate on your own schedule.

  • Exercises. (Yes, HOMEWORK!)

    You really need to practice this stuff and get your hands dirty, so we’re giving you the data to try it on your own with new models. But don’t worryyou won’t be on your own stymied by some coding error that won’t work. You’ll also get the code to do the exercises and the answers in case you get stuck.

  • A place to submit written questions between sessions.

    Got a question as you’re reviewing the video recording or your notes? Just submit a question on the workshop website. Trent will answer it there if he can, or if it’s something he needs to show you, he’ll answer it in the next Q&A session.

  • Video recordings of all Q&A sessions to review at your convenience.

    You can even submit questions for all the Q&A sessions ahead of time, and Trent will answer them in the next session and you can watch at your convenience.

  • A list of helpful resources and suggestions for further reading.

    There’s no required textbook, but there are some good books and articles on this topic, and you’ll learn the techniques better with some background reading. The list is available when you first register, so you have time to request them through inter-library loan if necessary.

  • Bonus videos.

    I’ve included a number of videos from some webinars on relevant topics to help jog your memory or clear up misunderstandings. Included are:

    The 13 Steps to Performing Any Statistical Model (60-minute video presentation)
    The First 3 Steps to Statistical Modeling: How to Clarify the Research Question, the Design, and the Variables (60-minute video presentation)

You’ll have access to this site and all the related materials and resources for ONE FULL YEAR. That means you can re-watch sessions, ask additional questions, and attend the course again during that 12-month period.

Often, our students report they understand the material at a deeper level on a second or third pass. This stuff is not easy. You’ll learn more every time, so take advantage of it!

“I really appreciated that handouts were provided beforehand; I like to be prepared, and reading the PowerPoint in advance helped me know what to expect. I especially appreciated that Trent listed some additional resources (e.g., rseek), and had advanced examples as the webinar progressed.”

— Joy Smithson, Introduction to R for SPSS Users Student Data Scientist, SchoolStatus

What’s Covered in the Workshop?

Module 1: Overview of R and the R Commander Package and Working with Data in R Commander

  • An overview of the R environment
  • Introduction to packages and functions – high level overview
  • A more specific introduction to R Commander package
  • Reading and Writing data files in R via R Commander and lessR
  • Saving your work in R/R Commander
  • How data are viewed in R/R Commander
  • Basics of data manipulation in R via R Commander
  • Merging Data sets using R/R Commander

Module 2: Overview of Graphing in R via R Commander

  • Histograms, Bar Charts and Line plots
  • Mean plots
  • Boxplots
  • Density Plots
  • Plots by grouping variables
  • Scatterplots
  • Co-plots and other multidimensional plots
  • Bubble/Sunflower plots (lessR)
  • Violin Plots (vioplot package)
  • Highlights of some Other PACKAGES for graphing

Module 3: Descriptive Statistics and Simple Comparisons in R via R Commander

  • Computing Summary Statistics using R Commander
  • Computing Summary Statistics from other popular R packages
  • Computing Contingency Tables in R
  • Categorical Analyses using R Commander (chi-squared tests)
  • Comparing Means (t-tests and ANOVA) in R using R Commander

Module 4: Overview of Statistical Modeling in R via R Commander

  • Simple/Multivariate Linear Regression modeling via R Commander (and LessR)
  • Logistic Regression using R Commander

Every Live Workshop from The Analysis Factor includes:

  • 1 year of access to the workshop website
  • All the data, programming code, exercises and handouts you’ll need
  • Live webinars and question & answer sessions
  • Video recordings of all live content for later or repeated review
  • The opportunity to ask questions live and to submit questions to be answered between sessions

“[This workshop] allows almost anyone to access the most commonly used features of SPSS for 1/10th the price.”

— Mark Noyes, Introduction to R for SPSS Users Student Research Analyst, Market Decisions Research

About Your Instructor


Hi, I’m Trent Buskirk, Ph.D., your workshop instructor and Director of the Center for Survey Research and professor in the Department of Management Science and Information Systems at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

I have more than two decades of professional and academic experience in the fields of survey research, statistics, and SPSS, SAS, and R.

I’ve taught for more than a decade at the University of Nebraska and Saint Louis University, where I was an Associate Professor of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health.

After seeing how hard it is for students to change from a graphic user interface environment to one that is more command line driven, I have been on a mission to help students climb the learning curve and to begin seeing R for what it is – powerful, cool and accessible.

I am excited to help you discover what I have known for years – that data analysis and visualization has an abbreviation and it’s R!

“…The instructor was very knowledgeable and a good teacher.”

— Mary Ehmann, Introduction to R for SPSS Users Student Research Scientist, Pearson Education


So what kind of background in statistics do you need?

This course starts out at a basic level. No, you don’t need a PhD in statistics… we know you’re a researcher, not a statistician.

We’re assuming:

  • You haven’t taken linear algebra
  • You don’t want to see things derived
  • You’re here because you want to see these concepts explained in English, not formulas

As long as you have at least a statistics course or two under your belt, you should be ready to tackle “R for SPSS Users.”

If you have questions about whether you’re ready for this class, just email us. We’ll give you our honest opinion. We want you to succeed!

What Others Have to Say about R for SPSS Users


“I appreciated the time that Trent took…”

“I appreciated the time that Trent took to walk us through the package installation and loading. Also really appreciated learning about R Commander and lessR.”

— Glenys Webster, Introduction to R for SPSS Users student


“I appreciated having recommendations… that were already pre-approved by an expert.”

“I liked the various helpful hints on making R more user-friendly. I appreciated having recommendations of search terms, manuals, etc. that were already pre-approved by an expert– rather than trying to filter them myself.”

— Suzanne Adlof, Introduction to R for SPSS Users student


“I especially appreciated that Trent listed some additional resources…”

“I really appreciated that handouts were provided beforehand; I like to be prepared, and reading the PowerPoint in advance helped me know what to expect. I especially appreciated that Trent listed some additional resources (e.g., rseek), and had advanced examples as the webinar progressed.”

— Joy Smithson, Introduction to R for SPSS Users student


“Very helpful and very easy to pick up.”

— Margie, Hightstown, NJ, Introduction to R for SPSS Users student


“…It gives a good insight…”

“I would recommend this workshop since it gives a good insight into the capabilities of R Commander and LessR.”

— Nicoleta, Introduction to R for SPSS Users student, Biostatistician at Appletree CI Group AG, Switzerland

Your Satisfaction Is Guaranteed

As with all our programs, your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you participate fully in this workshop–watch, read, and try out everything included–and find you are not satisfied for any reason, we will give you a full refund, no questions asked. Just notify us within 90 days of purchasing the program.


Q. Will I be able to keep up?

A: You WILL need to spend some time each week, both going over the modules, and also “getting your hands dirty” with some data. Expect to spend 2-3 hours per week reviewing the concepts and doing the exercises, and re-running class examples on your own.

You know how this goes: The more time you put in, the deeper your understanding.

Q. What’s your refund policy?

A: Your registration fee is fully refundable up to 72 hours before your first class session. No refunds will be granted after the program begins.

Q: Do you offer student discounts?

A: Yes, we do! Current students with a valid ID can register for 34% off the standard rate. Click here to receive our student discount on this and future workshops.

Q: Do I need to know and have a license for SPSS?

A: No. We’re not actually using SPSS. We’re only using R and some R packages, all of which are free.

Q: Things are very busy at work right now, and I’m afraid I won’t have time to keep up. How much time per week does this really take?

A: We’ve worked really hard to make sure people can do the workshop in the midst of their normal work life.

Each workshop instruction session is about 2 hours, whether you attend live or listen to the recording.

Each week, we have a one-hour Q&A session. You don’t have to attend, we just make those available so you can have any questions answered or listen in on others’ questions.

We provide exercises, answers and data sets, so you can practice what you’ve learned each week and get help in the Q&As. These will take you a few hours each week, maybe up to 5 or so. The exercises aren’t required—you’re not graded. But we’ve gotten feedback that they’re very helpful, as it allows you to practice and figure out what you did and didn’t understand.

In other words, each week, there are approximately 4 hours of instruction, one hour of Q&A, and about 2-3 hours of practice time. So if you have a crazy hectic week during the workshop, you have catch up time. But If you have a crazy hectic month, you may be better off waiting to take the class as you won’t really have a chance to catch up.

One reminder: You have access to the workshop website, all materials, and a place to ask questions for a year. So if you get behind, you aren’t missing out. You can catch up on your schedule.

Q: I teach/work/sleep during this time/live outside the U.S and cannot attend live. Is there any way to register and access the webinar sessions later?

A: Yes! We have participants from many time zones with many different work schedules. In order to support our diverse student base, all workshop sessions – including the modules and Q&A’s — are recorded and made available to students within 48 hours. They’re screenshot video files, so you’ll hear me talking and see my screen, just as live participants do. You can even submit questions for written answers any time between sessions. Many students take the entire workshop in this manner, never attending a session live.

Q: I’m outside the U.S. Can I still participate?

A: Yes. We have participants in our workshops from many different countries. You will want a fast Internet connection and either a computer speaker or a telephone if you plan to attend live.

Q: Can I pay with PayPal?

A: Yes. When you check out, you can pay directly using our system or paying with PayPal.

Q: Can I join the Q&A webinars from my iPad or iPhone?

A: Yes. Attendees now have the option of registering and joining the workshop Q&A sessions from your Apple or Android device by downloading a free GoToMeeting app.

Q: This really isn’t a good time for me. Will you be offering this workshop again soon?

A: There are no plans at this time to offer this workshop again this year. Remember, though, that you can sign up now and get access to all the course materials (live trainings, support, exercises, the option to ask questions, and live Q&A sessions, as well as any additional bonuses) I would suggest registering now. You’ll get all the materials to download and review at your convenience, and you can attend again for free any time in the next 12 months.

Registering now will give you complete access to the website and all materials for one year. Plus, ongoing support is included through access to the workshop website for a full year.

Have additional questions? We’re here to help! Just email us at