Frequently Asked Questions

To help students and graduate schools make the most our of our Data Visualisation workshop. We have compiled the most frequently asked questions for this workshop.


I have no experience using R. Is this workshop still appropriate for me?

During the second day (applications), we will work in R to implement the concepts we learned on the first day. In the past, students have commented that we place too much emphasis on prior knowledge of R, to the point that some students decided not to attend. We err on the side of caution.

Data handling is not covered in this workshop. This refers to basics such as importing data to the implementation of statistical tests and modelling and more advanced concepts such as making lists of figures for use in specific functions. In short, if you have no experience using R, you may find this workshop very challenging. This is particularly true if you have a poor understanding of your data and how to handle it. For this situation we refer you to the Data Analysis Workshop, which provides a thorough introduction into programming in R.

In our experience, if you have already worked with other programming/scripting languages (e.g. Python or in MatLab), you will have a much easier time, even if you only know the basics of R.

Another consideration is the format of your data. This means how your variables and observations are arranged. Rearranging your data manually is not only time-consuming but also error-prone. To help with this, we will briefly cover reshaping data. If you have a difficult time with R, this will again be a challenging part of the workshop for you.


I don’t have any data. Will you provide data sets for me to work on?

There are plenty of built-in data-sets in R with which you can work with. However, we do emphasise that working on your own data is the most beneficial use of your time.


I would like to make some interactive plots. Is that possible in R?

Yes! We end the workshop with a preview of how to make interactive plots that can be shared with your colleagues or published on the web. If you want to focus on this we can point you towards some examples earlier on in the workshop so that you can develop these skills.


I would like to make a very specific type of plot. Is this possible?

We will work with you to develop an appropriate visualisation solution. So far participants have been able to generate new plots during the workshop. However if there are specific types of plots you are very interested in, such as triangle plots or chord diagrams, it would be helpful if you inform us in advance of the workshop.


I’m not ready for this workshop yet, but I still need to produce a complex plot. How can I do it?

If it is possible you can organise a Data Analysis workshop, which will give you the necessary background, then take Data Visualisation when it is available at your school. Alternatively, we also offer a Visual Ediitng service where you can submit your project.

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Prerequisites for the Applications Section

To fully benefit from the applications day, it is assumed that participants have sufficient experience with R to execute code. Participants who have taken the Data Analysis workshop will meet this requirement.