While its performance is sometimes problematic for some extremely large data problems, R (with R studio frontend) is the data science language du jour for many small to medium data problems. Among other things, R is great because it is open source, hyper customizable with thousands of packages available to be loaded for a specific problem.
While Python and SQL are also important parts of the overall data science toolkit, we use R as our preferred language in both Quantitative Methods for Lawyers (3 credits) as well as in our Legal Analytics course (2 credits). We have found that students who are diligent can make amazing strides in a relatively short amount of time. For example, see this final project by Pat Ellis from last year’s course.
Here are some introductory resources that we have developed to get folks started: Loading R and R Studio
R Boot Camp – Part 1 – Loading Datasets and Basic Data Exploration
Data Cleaning and Additional Resources
R Boot Camp – Part 2 – Statistical Tests Using R
Basic Data Visualization in R
Scatter Plots, Covariance, Correlation Using R
Intro to Regression Analysis Using R
Over the balance of the 2014-2015 academic year, Mike and I will be introducing a variety of new things to the quantitative sequence including dplyR, etc. … more to come …