Best practices: what is your method for exploring a new database? Do you use R? Do you skip R, and use SQL directly?

Sorry, I can't get any traction on this topic! To date, my R use has always been with offline CSV and Excel files.

My Goal, and what I know so far:

  • I want to do basic exploratory data analysis on a new (to me) database.
  • I want to know the best workflow practice. (i.e., RODBC, JDBC, or some other approach entirely?)
  • The database is an Azure SQL Managed Instance.
  • My searches indicate it's rare for R users to use RODBC or JDBC to connect to databases. (I would like to know if this assumption is right or wrong .)
  • I don't know if I should even be bothering with R, or if I should be querying with SQL directly

Does 95% of the R community use R with flat files, and no databases?

What's the best practice when a database is involved, and you want to explore it?