R for Social Data Science



R for Social Data Science will introduce participants to basic computer programming skills for social data analysis. In particular, it will introduce participants to the R programming language, which is an open-sourced and cross-platform tool for statistical analysis. The aim is for participants to acquire basic programming skills.

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Describe basic programming terminology, structures, and conventions.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the R programming language, including the ability to write, execute and debug scripts.
  • Design project workflows through GitHub
  • Perform data wrangling and visualisation tasks using R.

What topics will you cover?

R for Social Data Science introduces participants to the core programming concepts, such as functions, variables, conditions, loops, working with libraries, and interacting with APIs. It also covers data management and visualisation. Best practices in project workflow and version control will also be introduced using Github.

The schedule of topics for the class is as follows:

  • Sessions 1 & 2, Introduction to Computation: Discuss core software development concepts such as computers, programming languages and algorithms. Learn how to share code using GitHub.
  • Sessions 3 & 4, R Basics: Introduce environments, variables, assignment, and object types. Start using some built-in functions to describe data.
  • Sessions 5 & 6, Control Flow: Branching, if-else statements, and loops.
  • Sessions 8 & 9, Functions: Main building block of a program implemented in any computing language, learning how to construct them.
  • Sessions 10 & 11, Debugging, Testing, Performance and Complexity: Learn how to eliminate errors in structured ways and debug, measure execution time and benchmarking of specific operations.
  • Sessions 12 & 13, Data Wrangling: Focus on data frames (base R) and its tidyverse cousin tibble. We will also discuss formats of data storage and functions for data I/O and descriptive analysis.
  • Sessions 14 & 15, Visualisation: Learn how to plot data in different formats using base R and gglot.
  • Sessions 16 & 17, Gathering Electronic Data: Fundamentals of web scraping, collecting data from online sources.

Who is this Course For?

The CPD is designed for participants with interest, but no basic prior experience in computer programming. Participants are expected to have some background in quantitative research methods, such as a degree or equivalent experience acquired in workplace setting. The target learner cohort are participants working in the private sector, for example ITC, finance, and banking sectors.

Who Teaches the Course?

Assistant Professor Jeffrey Ziegler, Department of Political Science, School of Social Sciences and Philosophy at Trinity College Dublin.

Time, Date, and Place

The course will be delivered online over eight weeks (with one week off for reading week). There will be two 1.5-hour sessions each week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm-7:30pm. 

The course runs from Tuesday 13th February to Thursday 11th April.

Participants will engage with the material in a hands-on environment, which will include coding homework / exercises throughout the CPD. 

On successful completion of the CPD, students will receive a Certificate of Completion. In order to be awarded the Certificate of Completion for R for Social Data Science, participants will need to have completed all required CPD exercises.

For more information, you can download our Course Brochure.

R for Social Data Science

One of six CPD courses offered by the School of Social Sciences & Philosophy, learn more about the R for Social Data Science programme. Speaker: Assistant Professor Jeffrey Ziegler.

Admission Requirements

Participants should have access to a laptop or desktop with camera and a microphone.

Course Fees



Registration for this course closes on Tuesday 6th February.

Places are limited as class sizes are small, with up to 30 per class, so enroll as soon as possible to secure your place on the course.

You can enroll on the course directly via the PayPal link below. The course fee includes access to the course materials via Blackboard (Trinity’s virtual learning environment) for the duration of the course. Participation in this CPD course does not include access to the Trinity Library or any other student services (including a student identity card). 

For employers wishing to pay for employees' registration via invoice, please contact sspcpd@tcd.ie

Enrol Now

R for Social Data Science - €1,500

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Get in Touch

Please contact sspcpd@tcd.ie sspcpd@tcd.iefor further details about applying for the module.

For further details about the content of the module, you can contact the module lecturer, Dr Jeffrey Ziegler at zieglerj@tcd.ie

Register Your Interest

Register your interest at Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin.

As Ireland’s leading university, we offer a wide range of postgraduate programmes at masters, diploma and certificate level.

Trinity is an international university steeped in history, with a reputation for excellence in education, research and innovation.

Register Your Interest