Suddenly, Statistics

[Week 23] R!

I know the title of this blog says “a photo a week” but surely screenshots count! This is my very first introduction to R, both a language and program for statistical computing and graphics, and as it’s the very first time I’ve encountered it I can’t say much more other than it’s exceedingly fun. I have background in Visual Basic (high school) and PHP/MySQL (undergrad) which remind me of R— but besides this it is a completely new thing to me and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to play with it!

Statistics people and people with a solid background in quantitative research  may laugh at me now, but I have to admit, I’ve never used nearly enough variables to require computing software. It might be my literature background but I prefer case studies and process tracing and yes, close reading. In fact, at this point my dissertation is developing into a fearfully theoretical organism and I’m almost 100% sure it won’t need R at all. All that being said, I can’t resist the lure of new knowlege so here I am in Quantitative Methods class.

So far, I’m hooked. It reminds me of back in grade school and high school where we had to learn things like MS DOS and those programs that were the dinosaur-age ancestors of Paint and Excel where we had to make pixel art and do computing and graphing with code. Our school had this concept that if you are to teach students something, might as well make sure they understand the very core of the subject. After these, classes requiring Excel and future computer programming classes were a breeze. We also had a programming class in high school and we learned how to use VB, and I made a murder mystery for my final project— the kind of basic game where you click on objects and with code chock full of ‘if-then’ commands. It’s been a good ten years since high school though— how time flies— so I’m a bit rusty.

This term, besides Quantitative Methods taught by Dr. Mario Quaranta, I’m also taking Religion and Politics with Dr. Valentina Gentile* and Dr. Domenico MelidoroPublic Policies: Frameworks and Theories  with Dr. Arlo Poletti; Europe from Policy to Politics with Dr. Sergio Fabbrini; the core course Empirical Theory of Democracy with Dr. Leonardo Morlino; and will audit the course Game Theory with Dr. Luciano Andreozzi (or if I really like it I’ll take it on as full load). These classes were chosen for a mixture of utility and pure curiosity and it looks to be an interesting semester.

I’m sure I will regret this when term paper time comes, but for now, I’m happy.

For anyone interested in a PhD with LUISS, for Term I, we had all core courses:
Global Justice with Dr. Sebastiano Maffettone; Approaches and Methods in Social Research with Dr. Lorenzo De Sio; and Epistemology and Philosophy of Social Science with Dr. Daniele Santoro and Dr. Mario De Caro.

*It is interesting to note, dear reader, that out of eleven professors, only one is female.


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