Introduction to Data Visualisation and Web Applications Using R

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

The Short Course Programme in Population Health Sciences has been temporarily suspended.


Bookings for 2020-21 courses will open later in the autumn.

Information on this page relates to the last run of the course and is for reference only. 

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We may need to make responsive changes to our future programme to follow the latest Public Health, Government and University guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please be aware that all information about short courses planned for 2021 is provisional and subject to change.

Course dates

14 - 15 November 2019
21 - 22 May 2020

Course duration

2 days (including approximately 8 hours of practical sessions).
Registration will start at 8.45am on the first day and will finish by 4.30pm on the final day.

Course tutors

Dr Christopher Penfold (course organiser) and others.

The tutors are knowledgeable and very enthusiastic about the topics they teach.

Course feedback, January 2019

Course aims 

To introduce the key aspects of data visualisation using R, with applications of powerful R tools to illustrate the generation of fully reproducible documents (e.g. analysis reports), and to introduce the Shiny framework for web applications. 

Course objectives

By the end of the course participants will be able to:

  1. Plot basic graphs using R;
  2. Customise plot features;
  3. Create high-end graphical figures, using the ‘ggplot2’ package;
  4. Add, amend and customise plot layers;
  5. Produce interactive graphs and display them online;
  6. Generate dynamic documents using R Markdown;
  7. Use R Markdown documents to produce pdf, html and Microsoft word reports; and
  8. Develop simple web applications using Shiny to present results in tabular and graphical form. 

Who the course is intended for

The course is intended for individuals with an interest in data visualisation, statistical analyses, reproducible research and data science. The course topics apply to nearly all areas of quantitative research.

Basic knowledge of R is an advantage but not necessarily required. No previous knowledge of statistical analysis will be assumed.

Course outline

This is a 2-day course with practicals and demonstrations to provide participants with skills in using R to visualise data, build dynamic reports, and develop web applications.

We will cover:

  • R functions: What is an R function, how are they structured and used, and how can one understand the function’s parameters and create our own?
  • Basic R graphics: Creating, customising and saving graphics in various formats using R.
  • Advanced R graphics: Create advanced and informative graphics using 'ggplot2' that include bar plots, histograms, scatter plots, density plots, heat maps and many more.
  • Customise graphs: Introduce geoms, stats, layers, scales, axes, legends, facets, colour themes, general themes, fonts and grid layouts.
  • Interactive graphs: Introduce the 'ggplotly' tool, used to produce web-based graphs where a user can interactively select, display and highlight visualised data points, lines, etc.
  • Dynamic documents: Illustrate how R Markdown can be used to create dynamic reports that incorporate descriptive text and statistical plots, with the code used to perform the analyses and the results.
  • Web applications: Demonstrate how R can be used to develop simple web applications to display results or perform an analysis online. 

Please note: The course will be held in a computer lab, so you will not need to bring a laptop.

Course fee


More information on course fees, fee waivers and reduced prices.

Course venue

Bristol Medical School
Canynge Hall
39 Whatley Road
United Kingdom

Map and directions

Course refreshments

We provide morning and afternoon refreshment breaks, including tea and coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit.

If you have specific dietary needs we ask that you let us know in advance.

Lunch is not included. There are a range of local cafes and supermarkets nearby for students to purchase lunch. 


Information about accommodation in the area.


For further information please email

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