broom: let’s tidy up a bit
The broom package takes the messy output of builtin functions in R,
such as lm
, nls
, or t.test
, and
turns them into tidy tibbles.
The concept of “tidy data”, as introduced by Hadley Wickham, offers a powerful framework for data manipulation and analysis. That paper makes a convincing statement of the problem this package tries to solve (emphasis mine):
While model inputs usually require tidy inputs, such attention to detail doesn’t carry over to model outputs. Outputs such as predictions and estimated coefficients aren’t always tidy. This makes it more difficult to combine results from multiple models. For example, in R, the default representation of model coefficients is not tidy because it does not have an explicit variable that records the variable name for each estimate, they are instead recorded as row names. In R, row names must be unique, so combining coefficients from many models (e.g., from bootstrap resamples, or subgroups) requires workarounds to avoid losing important information. This knocks you out of the flow of analysis and makes it harder to combine the results from multiple models. I’m not currently aware of any packages that resolve this problem.
broom is an attempt to bridge the gap from untidy outputs of
predictions and estimations to the tidy data we want to work with. It
centers around three S3 methods, each of which take common objects
produced by R statistical functions (lm
,
t.test
, nls
, etc) and convert them into a
tibble. broom is particularly designed to work with Hadley’s dplyr package (see the broom+dplyr vignette for more).
broom should be distinguished from packages like reshape2 and tidyr, which rearrange and reshape data frames into different forms. Those packages perform critical tasks in tidy data analysis but focus on manipulating data frames in one specific format into another. In contrast, broom is designed to take format that is not in a tabular data format (sometimes not anywhere close) and convert it to a tidy tibble.
Tidying model outputs is not an exact science, and it’s based on a judgment of the kinds of values a data scientist typically wants out of a tidy analysis (for instance, estimates, test statistics, and pvalues). You may lose some of the information in the original object that you wanted, or keep more information than you need. If you think the tidy output for a model should be changed, or if you’re missing a tidying function for an S3 class that you’d like, I strongly encourage you to open an issue or a pull request.
Tidying functions
This package provides three S3 methods that do three distinct kinds of tidying.

tidy
: constructs a tibble that summarizes the model’s statistical findings. This includes coefficients and pvalues for each term in a regression, percluster information in clustering applications, or pertest information formulttest
functions. 
augment
: add columns to the original data that was modeled. This includes predictions, residuals, and cluster assignments. 
glance
: construct a concise onerow summary of the model. This typically contains values such as R^2, adjusted R^2, and residual standard error that are computed once for the entire model.
Note that some classes may have only one or two of these methods defined.
Consider as an illustrative example a linear fit on the builtin
mtcars
dataset.
lmfit < lm(mpg ~ wt, mtcars)
lmfit
##
## Call:
## lm(formula = mpg ~ wt, data = mtcars)
##
## Coefficients:
## (Intercept) wt
## 37.285 5.344
summary(lmfit)
##
## Call:
## lm(formula = mpg ~ wt, data = mtcars)
##
## Residuals:
## Min 1Q Median 3Q Max
## 4.5432 2.3647 0.1252 1.4096 6.8727
##
## Coefficients:
## Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>t)
## (Intercept) 37.2851 1.8776 19.858 < 2e16 ***
## wt 5.3445 0.5591 9.559 1.29e10 ***
## 
## Signif. codes: 0 '***' 0.001 '**' 0.01 '*' 0.05 '.' 0.1 ' ' 1
##
## Residual standard error: 3.046 on 30 degrees of freedom
## Multiple Rsquared: 0.7528, Adjusted Rsquared: 0.7446
## Fstatistic: 91.38 on 1 and 30 DF, pvalue: 1.294e10
This summary output is useful enough if you just want to read it.
However, converting it to tabular data that contains all the same
information, so that you can combine it with other models or do further
analysis, is not trivial. You have to do
coef(summary(lmfit))
to get a matrix of coefficients, the
terms are still stored in row names, and the column names are
inconsistent with other packages (e.g. Pr(>t)
compared
to p.value
).
Instead, you can use the tidy
function, from the broom
package, on the fit:
## # A tibble: 2 × 5
## term estimate std.error statistic p.value
## <chr> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl>
## 1 (Intercept) 37.3 1.88 19.9 8.24e19
## 2 wt 5.34 0.559 9.56 1.29e10
This gives you a tabular data representation. Note that the row names
have been moved into a column called term
, and the column
names are simple and consistent (and can be accessed using
$
).
Instead of viewing the coefficients, you might be interested in the
fitted values and residuals for each of the original points in the
regression. For this, use augment
, which augments the
original data with information from the model:
augment(lmfit)
## # A tibble: 32 × 9
## .rownames mpg wt .fitted .resid .hat .sigma .cooksd .std.…¹
## <chr> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl>
## 1 Mazda RX4 21 2.62 23.3 2.28 0.0433 3.07 1.33e2 0.766
## 2 Mazda RX4 Wag 21 2.88 21.9 0.920 0.0352 3.09 1.72e3 0.307
## 3 Datsun 710 22.8 2.32 24.9 2.09 0.0584 3.07 1.54e2 0.706
## 4 Hornet 4 Drive 21.4 3.22 20.1 1.30 0.0313 3.09 3.02e3 0.433
## 5 Hornet Sporta… 18.7 3.44 18.9 0.200 0.0329 3.10 7.60e5 0.0668
## 6 Valiant 18.1 3.46 18.8 0.693 0.0332 3.10 9.21e4 0.231
## 7 Duster 360 14.3 3.57 18.2 3.91 0.0354 3.01 3.13e2 1.31
## 8 Merc 240D 24.4 3.19 20.2 4.16 0.0313 3.00 3.11e2 1.39
## 9 Merc 230 22.8 3.15 20.5 2.35 0.0314 3.07 9.96e3 0.784
## 10 Merc 280 19.2 3.44 18.9 0.300 0.0329 3.10 1.71e4 0.100
## # … with 22 more rows, and abbreviated variable name ¹.std.resid
Note that each of the new columns begins with a .
(to
avoid overwriting any of the original columns).
Finally, several summary statistics are computed for the entire
regression, such as R^2 and the Fstatistic. These can be accessed with
the glance
function:
glance(lmfit)
## # A tibble: 1 × 12
## r.squa…¹ adj.r…² sigma stati…³ p.value df logLik AIC BIC devia…⁴
## <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl>
## 1 0.753 0.745 3.05 91.4 1.29e10 1 80.0 166. 170. 278.
## # … with 2 more variables: df.residual <int>, nobs <int>, and abbreviated
## # variable names ¹r.squared, ²adj.r.squared, ³statistic, ⁴deviance
This distinction between the tidy
, augment
and glance
functions is explored in a different context in
the kmeans
vignette.
Other Examples
Generalized linear and nonlinear models
These functions apply equally well to the output from
glm
:
## # A tibble: 2 × 5
## term estimate std.error statistic p.value
## <chr> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl>
## 1 (Intercept) 12.0 4.51 2.67 0.00759
## 2 wt 4.02 1.44 2.80 0.00509
augment(glmfit)
## # A tibble: 32 × 9
## .rownames am wt .fitted .resid .std.…¹ .hat .sigma .cooksd
## <chr> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl>
## 1 Mazda RX4 1 2.62 1.50 0.635 0.680 0.126 0.803 0.0184
## 2 Mazda RX4 Wag 1 2.88 0.471 0.985 1.04 0.108 0.790 0.0424
## 3 Datsun 710 1 2.32 2.70 0.360 0.379 0.0963 0.810 0.00394
## 4 Hornet 4 Drive 0 3.22 0.897 0.827 0.860 0.0744 0.797 0.0177
## 5 Hornet Sporta… 0 3.44 1.80 0.553 0.572 0.0681 0.806 0.00647
## 6 Valiant 0 3.46 1.88 0.532 0.551 0.0674 0.807 0.00590
## 7 Duster 360 0 3.57 2.33 0.432 0.446 0.0625 0.809 0.00348
## 8 Merc 240D 0 3.19 0.796 0.863 0.897 0.0755 0.796 0.0199
## 9 Merc 230 0 3.15 0.635 0.922 0.960 0.0776 0.793 0.0242
## 10 Merc 280 0 3.44 1.80 0.553 0.572 0.0681 0.806 0.00647
## # … with 22 more rows, and abbreviated variable name ¹.std.resid
glance(glmfit)
## # A tibble: 1 × 8
## null.deviance df.null logLik AIC BIC deviance df.residual nobs
## <dbl> <int> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <int> <int>
## 1 43.2 31 9.59 23.2 26.1 19.2 30 32
Note that the statistics computed by glance
are
different for glm
objects than for lm
(e.g. deviance rather than R^2):
These functions also work on other fits, such as nonlinear models
(nls
):
## # A tibble: 2 × 5
## term estimate std.error statistic p.value
## <chr> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl>
## 1 k 45.8 4.25 10.8 7.64e12
## 2 b 4.39 1.54 2.85 7.74e 3
augment(nlsfit, mtcars)
## # A tibble: 32 × 14
## .rownames mpg cyl disp hp drat wt qsec vs am gear
## <chr> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl>
## 1 Mazda RX4 21 6 160 110 3.9 2.62 16.5 0 1 4
## 2 Mazda RX4 … 21 6 160 110 3.9 2.88 17.0 0 1 4
## 3 Datsun 710 22.8 4 108 93 3.85 2.32 18.6 1 1 4
## 4 Hornet 4 D… 21.4 6 258 110 3.08 3.22 19.4 1 0 3
## 5 Hornet Spo… 18.7 8 360 175 3.15 3.44 17.0 0 0 3
## 6 Valiant 18.1 6 225 105 2.76 3.46 20.2 1 0 3
## 7 Duster 360 14.3 8 360 245 3.21 3.57 15.8 0 0 3
## 8 Merc 240D 24.4 4 147. 62 3.69 3.19 20 1 0 4
## 9 Merc 230 22.8 4 141. 95 3.92 3.15 22.9 1 0 4
## 10 Merc 280 19.2 6 168. 123 3.92 3.44 18.3 1 0 4
## # … with 22 more rows, and 3 more variables: carb <dbl>, .fitted <dbl>,
## # .resid <dbl>
glance(nlsfit)
## # A tibble: 1 × 9
## sigma isConv finTol logLik AIC BIC deviance df.residual nobs
## <dbl> <lgl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <int> <int>
## 1 2.77 TRUE 0.0000000194 77.0 160. 164. 231. 30 32
Hypothesis testing
The tidy
function can also be applied to
htest
objects, such as those output by popular builtin
functions like t.test
, cor.test
, and
wilcox.test
.
## # A tibble: 1 × 10
## estimate estima…¹ estim…² stati…³ p.value param…⁴ conf.…⁵ conf.…⁶ method
## <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <chr>
## 1 1.36 3.77 2.41 5.49 6.27e6 29.2 0.853 1.86 Welch…
## # … with 1 more variable: alternative <chr>, and abbreviated variable
## # names ¹estimate1, ²estimate2, ³statistic, ⁴parameter, ⁵conf.low,
## # ⁶conf.high
Some cases might have fewer columns (for example, no confidence interval):
wt < wilcox.test(wt ~ am, mtcars)
tidy(wt)
## # A tibble: 1 × 4
## statistic p.value method alter…¹
## <dbl> <dbl> <chr> <chr>
## 1 230. 0.0000435 Wilcoxon rank sum test with continuity corr… two.si…
## # … with abbreviated variable name ¹alternative
Since the tidy
output is already only one row,
glance
returns the same output:
glance(tt)
## # A tibble: 1 × 10
## estimate estima…¹ estim…² stati…³ p.value param…⁴ conf.…⁵ conf.…⁶ method
## <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <chr>
## 1 1.36 3.77 2.41 5.49 6.27e6 29.2 0.853 1.86 Welch…
## # … with 1 more variable: alternative <chr>, and abbreviated variable
## # names ¹estimate1, ²estimate2, ³statistic, ⁴parameter, ⁵conf.low,
## # ⁶conf.high
glance(wt)
## # A tibble: 1 × 4
## statistic p.value method alter…¹
## <dbl> <dbl> <chr> <chr>
## 1 230. 0.0000435 Wilcoxon rank sum test with continuity corr… two.si…
## # … with abbreviated variable name ¹alternative
augment
method is defined only for chisquared tests,
since there is no meaningful sense, for other tests, in which a
hypothesis test produces output about each initial data point.
chit < chisq.test(xtabs(Freq ~ Sex + Class,
data = as.data.frame(Titanic)))
tidy(chit)
## # A tibble: 1 × 4
## statistic p.value parameter method
## <dbl> <dbl> <int> <chr>
## 1 350. 1.56e75 3 Pearson's Chisquared test
augment(chit)
## # A tibble: 8 × 9
## Sex Class .observed .prop .row.prop .col.prop .expe…¹ .resid .std.…²
## <fct> <fct> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl>
## 1 Male 1st 180 0.0818 0.104 0.554 256. 4.73 11.1
## 2 Female 1st 145 0.0659 0.309 0.446 69.4 9.07 11.1
## 3 Male 2nd 179 0.0813 0.103 0.628 224. 3.02 6.99
## 4 Female 2nd 106 0.0482 0.226 0.372 60.9 5.79 6.99
## 5 Male 3rd 510 0.232 0.295 0.722 555. 1.92 5.04
## 6 Female 3rd 196 0.0891 0.417 0.278 151. 3.68 5.04
## 7 Male Crew 862 0.392 0.498 0.974 696. 6.29 17.6
## 8 Female Crew 23 0.0104 0.0489 0.0260 189. 12.1 17.6
## # … with abbreviated variable names ¹.expected, ².std.resid
Conventions
In order to maintain consistency, we attempt to follow some conventions regarding the structure of returned data.
All functions
 The output of the
tidy
,augment
andglance
functions is always a tibble.  The output never has rownames. This ensures that you can combine it with other tidy outputs without fear of losing information (since rownames in R cannot contain duplicates).
 Some column names are kept consistent, so that they can be combined
across different models and so that you know what to expect (in contrast
to asking “is it
pval
orPValue
?” every time). The examples below are not all the possible column names, nor will all tidy output contain all or even any of these columns.
tidy functions
 Each row in a
tidy
output typically represents some welldefined concept, such as one term in a regression, one test, or one cluster/class. This meaning varies across models but is usually selfevident. The one thing each row cannot represent is a point in the initial data (for that, use theaugment
method).  Common column names include:

term
“” the term in a regression or model that is being estimated. 
p.value
: this spelling was chosen (over common alternatives such aspvalue
,PValue
, orpval
) to be consistent with functions in R’s builtinstats
package 
statistic
a test statistic, usually the one used to compute the pvalue. Combining these across many subgroups is a reliable way to perform (e.g.) bootstrap hypothesis testing estimate

conf.low
the low end of a confidence interval on theestimate

conf.high
the high end of a confidence interval on theestimate

df
degrees of freedom

augment functions

augment(model, data)
adds columns to the original data. If the
data
argument is missing,augment
attempts to reconstruct the data from the model (note that this may not always be possible, and usually won’t contain columns not used in the model).
 If the
 Each row in an
augment
output matches the corresponding row in the original data.  If the original data contained rownames,
augment
turns them into a column called.rownames
.  Newly added column names begin with
.
to avoid overwriting columns in the original data.  Common column names include:

.fitted
: the predicted values, on the same scale as the data. 
.resid
: residuals: the actual y values minus the fitted values 
.cluster
: cluster assignments

glance functions

glance
always returns a onerow tibble. The only exception is that
glance(NULL)
returns an empty tibble.
 The only exception is that
 We avoid including arguments that were given to the
modeling function. For example, a
glm
glance output does not need to contain a field forfamily
, since that is decided by the user callingglm
rather than the modeling function itself.  Common column names include:

r.squared
the fraction of variance explained by the model 
adj.r.squared
\(R^2\) adjusted based on the degrees of freedom 
sigma
the square root of the estimated variance of the residuals
