Once you have access to your data, you will want to massage it into useful form. This includes creating new variables (including recoding and renaming existing variables), sorting and merging datasets, aggregating data, reshaping data, and subsetting datasets (including selecting observations that meet criteria, randomly sampling observeration, and dropping or keeping variables).
Each of these activities usually involve the use of R's built-in operators (arithmetic and logical) and functions (numeric, character, and statistical). Additionally, you may need to use control structures (if-then, for, while, switch) in your programs and/or create your own functions. Finally you may need to convert variables or datasets from one type to another (e.g. numeric to character or matrix to data frame).
This section describes each task from an R perspective.