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Activity Number: 649 - The 'Ergonomics' of Statistics and Data Science
Type: Invited
Date/Time: Thursday, August 2, 2018 : 10:30 AM to 12:20 PM
Sponsor: International Statistical Institute
Abstract #326914
Title: How Software Affects Humans' Conceptions of Data: a Case Study in R Syntaxes
Author(s): Amelia McNamara*
Companies: Smith College
Keywords: statistics education; data science; data science as a science; statistical computing

Researchers in computer science have found that the use of a particular programming language can have an effect on users' thinking, as well as their programming 'accent' in other languages. In statistics education, studies of graphical user interfaces like TinkerPlots and Fathom have shown statistical software can affect learners' conceptions of central tendency and variability. However, there has been limited research bringing these two areas of research together. This talk presents a case study comparing three common domain-specific languages within R: the base R syntax, the 'formula' syntax, and the 'tidyverse' syntax. The approaches are compared in terms of efficiency (primarily in the context of human programming hours, rather than runtime), efficacy, and learning outcomes.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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