14 Learning key patterns

Statistics courses teach statistics, and software training or programming courses can teach you the fundamentals of a particular package — for example R.

However, a large part of learning how to analyse data is actually not about particular statistical techniques, nor the detals of implementing them in a particular package.

Instead, the most useful things to take away from a course can be how to think about different types of problem, and general strategies for tackling them. One label applied to these approaches and strategies are ‘patterns’.

We’ve already come across one pattern in the section on summarising data: the split, apply, combine method.

This section outlines some other patterns or ways of working that may be helpful.