Methods Bites

Blog of the MZES Social Science Data Lab

How to write your own R package and publish it on CRAN

R is a great resource for data management, statistics, analysis, and visualization — and it becomes better every day. This is to a large part because of the active community that continuously creates and builds extensions for the R world. If you want to contribute to this community, writing a package can be one way. That is exactly what we intended with our package overviewR. While there exist many great resources for learning how to write a package in R, we found it difficult to find one all-encompassing guide that is also easily accessible for beginners. Continue reading

Using Web Logs and Smartphone Records for Social Research

2020-04-14 13 min read instructionals [Ruben Bach]

How can social scientists collect and analyze web logs – records of individuals’ browsing behavior – for their own research? In this Methods Bites Instructional Blog Post, Ruben Bach summarizes some key insights of his talk in the MZES Social Sciences Data Lab in December 2019. The blog post discusses how to obtain and extract information from web logs and related data, shows how they can be used for social research, and concludes with a short discussion of how to handle “big data” extracted from web logs. Continue reading

LaTeX and Overleaf

LaTeX is a high quality typesetting system that that facilitates the production of well-formatted document. It has become highly popular in academic settings as an alternative to common typewriting systems (e.g., Word). This Methods Bites Tutorial by our team member Cosima Meyer and Dennis Hammerschmidt walks you through your first steps in LaTeX (using Overleaf) and provides you with a hands-on guide for writing scientific papers using an easily accessible template. Continue reading

Efficient Data Management in R

The software environment R is widely used for data analysis and data visualization in the social sciences and beyond. Additionally, it is becoming increasingly popular as a tool for data and file management. Focusing on these latter aspects, this Methods Bites Tutorial by Marcel Neunhoeffer, Oliver Rittmann and our team members Denis Cohen and Cosima Meyer illustrates the workflow and best practices for efficient data management in R. Continue reading

Applied Bayesian Statistics Using Stan and R

2020-01-30 64 min read tutorials [Denis Cohen]

Whether researchers occasionally turn to Bayesian statistical methods out of convenience or whether they firmly subscribe to the Bayesian paradigm for philosophical reasons: The use of Bayesian statistics in the social sciences is becoming increasingly widespread. However, seemingly high entry costs still keep many applied researchers from embracing Bayesian methods. Next to a lack of familiarity with the underlying conceptual foundations, the need to implement statistical models using specific programming languages remains one of the biggest hurdles. In this Methods Bites Tutorial, Denis Cohen provides an applied introduction to Stan, a platform for statistical modeling and Bayesian statistical inference. Continue reading

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