Sunday, 22 March 2015

Course: Spatial Analysis in R

Course title: Spatial Analysis of Ecological Data in R, organised by PR~statistics.

The course was really extensive. Each day we did at least one new "module". Have a look at their website for the list: Spatial analysis course.

It was one of the hardest courses, if not the hardest one, I have ever done. By Wednesday afternoon I was nearly in tears. Frustration with R was taking over - the course material was really tough and pretty much all new to me and on top of that we had to write our R scripts from scratch. Which for me was as close to impossible as one can get. While I understood the concepts I really struggled to apply the knowledge effectively and work through assigned tasks, as my coding knowledge was letting me down.

I have to admit, during the course I wasn't sure how much use it all would be, since I felt like I wasn't getting through enough of the practicals. However (and this is a big however!) during the last day we split into smaller groups and discussed our own data. I managed to get some feedback on my ideas and some tips about future analyses. It was really, really, really useful! In the end we were also given copies of all the code necessary to complete all the practical tasks. I really think that I should be able to go over things again in my own time and use everything I learned.

This course ate more than half my yearly PhD-expenses budget, but I think it was worth it in the end and I would recommend it if you are interested in spatial analysis. Things would probably be easier if you know a bit of R (even better if you know a lot of R). If you don't know R, but you want to do it, be prepared for some really hard work and likely a bit of confusion and frustration too.

There is something more this course reminded me of, which I think is really important: if you struggle, talk to other people! I can't stress this enough. So many others on the course struggled and knowing that made me feel less alone and less hopeless.

No comments:

Post a Comment