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Workshop: R

Presented by Bert Van Landeghem

This workshop aims to illustrate how assistive technology can offer access to modern

statistical packages. In this workshop, the package R will be demonstrated.

R is one of the world’s fastest developing open-source projects today. It is statistical

software that is widely used in academic institutions, industry, and research facilities.

Because R is free, it has become an important resource for many statisticians in the developing

world in particular. All the common activities of the modern statistician are possible within

R, such as data manipulation, calculation and graphical display.
R can be used successfully by screen reader users with a few modifications.

Dealing with statistics is no longer the domain of mathematically competent people alone.

Decisions in scientific research as well as in industry and government are dependent on

evidence. As a consequence, the ability to be literate with statistics, even at a basic level,

is becoming even more important than it was in the past. This will often be demonstrated by

successful completion of a course in statistics as part of a degree at university.
Blind job seekers will improve their employment prospects if they are able to show their

competence in dealing with statistics. R offers the blind person access, especially if we link

the ability to use the right software with our specialised hardware.
This tutorial will demonstrate how to import data and then create simple numeric and graphic

summaries, such as those taught in the first few weeks of most introductory statistics courses.
There are many tasks in statistics courses where sighted people use graphs. We will see that

using R offers some alternatives to creating a graph.

During the workshop, we will play with some real-world data, and analyse a dataset with

different indicators across time and countries, drawn from the World Bank's World Development

Indicators database.

The workshop is based on the online handbook written by Jonathan Godfrey, who has shown

untiring effort to find ways of making R accessible, and to share his findings with the rest of the world in a structured

and didactical way. The handbook and related materials can be found at: