StatWire: Visual Flow-based Statistical Programming

Krishna Subramanian, Johannes Maas, Michael Ellers, Chat Wacharamanotham, Simon Voelker, and Jan Borchers
In Extended Abstracts of CHI' 18, ACM, LBW104:1--LBW104:6

Statistical analysis is a frequent task in several research fields such as HCI, Psychology, and Medicine. Performing statistical analysis using traditional textual programming languages like R is considered to have several advantages over GUI applications like SPSS. However, our examination of 40 analysis scripts written using current IDEs for R shows that such scripts are hard to understand and maintain, limiting their replication. We present StatWire, an IDE for R that closely integrates the traditional text-based editor with a visual data flow editor to better support statistical programming. A preliminary evaluation with four R users indicates that this hybrid approach could result in statistical programming that is more understandable and efficient.