One of the best aspects about R and RStudio that make it such a robust and fun environment is the availability of ‘packages’ that can serve to streamline your R processing. When I started using R I was not aware of the existence of helpful R packages and now I can say that finding and experimenting with R packages is a hobby.
CRAN is the best place to find and download R Packages, and to help you through that somewhat overwhelming library here are my favorites:
by Hadley Wickham
This package is high on the list of data analysts, DH’ers and R users alike. This package is extremely easy to use and produces some of the best visual data representations I have seen. Here is a little sample from the ggplot2 website. It also allows for more user-friendly graph customization options which RStudio users can appreciate.
by Yihui Xie
This package is great for those documenting, or writing a report that includes R code and output. This dynamic report generating package allows for writing within the RStudio environment in LaTeX format, while inputting chunks of R code into the lines of the document. This allows you to document and customize a PDF output that includes your code and results, while still functioning like a regular R project file.
Here is a great and helpful video from Yihui on the package.
by Matt Owen, Kosuke Imai, Olivia Lau, Gary King
Doing data analysis as a job I find that the zelig package lives by its own tagline, “Everyone’s Statistical Software”. It makes regressions, linear models, and finding descriptive statistics a breeze. It is one of the most robust packages I have seen with a near comprehensive list of statistical models. It can even help interpret results by allowing for threshold parameters to be set.
For more information here is another list of favorite packages.