R Language Classes Inspect classes


Example

Every object in R is assigned a class. You can use class() to find the object's class and str() to see its structure, including the classes it contains. For example:

class(iris)
[1] "data.frame"

str(iris)
'data.frame':    150 obs. of  5 variables:
 $ Sepal.Length: num  5.1 4.9 4.7 4.6 5 5.4 4.6 5 4.4 4.9 ...
 $ Sepal.Width : num  3.5 3 3.2 3.1 3.6 3.9 3.4 3.4 2.9 3.1 ...
 $ Petal.Length: num  1.4 1.4 1.3 1.5 1.4 1.7 1.4 1.5 1.4 1.5 ...
 $ Petal.Width : num  0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.1 ...
 $ Species     : Factor w/ 3 levels "setosa","versicolor",..: 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ...

class(iris$Species)
[1] "factor"

We see that iris has the class data.frame and using str() allows us to examine the data inside. The variable Species in the iris data frame is of class factor, in contrast to the other variables which are of class numeric. The str() function also provides the length of the variables and shows the first couple of observations, while the class() function only provides the object's class.