Okay, first off, I shoot RAW ... and JPEG! Given the size and low cost of high capacity memory cards today, that is not a problem for me. I want the RAW for the processing power I get with it. I want the JPEG for the instant access to quality images. I can always access JPEG files, even on a computer that does not have the ability to open RAW files, plus I can quickly get a print from a JPEG file from any place that does printing. JPEG files are "finished" files (that does not mean you can't adjust them, though), RAW files are "unfinished."
One of the prevalent myths, and a sad part of how some digital photographers treat other photographers, is that one is not a “real photographer” unless he or she shoot RAW. That is just a sad, mean-spirited thing to say or even imply. This would be like telling the classic nature photographers, Eliot Porter or Galen Rowell, that they were not "real" photographers because they shot transparencies (which are processed in an automated fashion) and had darkroom masters do their printing. JPEG is a bit like transparency film and RAW like negative film.
A high quality JPEG is every bit the equal to a processed and exported RAW file in terms of final tonality, color and sharpness (I am not referring to how much processing is, was or could be done, only to what you actually see in the final image). The difference is simply that the camera processes the JPEG file, whereas the photographer processes the RAW file. Since the JPEG file is already processed and then saved to a format that is less pliable in processing, you are limited in how much processing you can do to a JPEG file before you start having problems. That said, camera manufacturers have put a lot of research and effort into developing the best possible automated processing of the digital image to create the JPEG file.
RAW has a huge range of processing available, especially in the bright and dark areas that is unavailable for JPEG processing (it is available to the camera when it does the processing, though). That offers so many more possibilities for good processing, but that hardly means shooting JPEG is bad or makes you less of a photographer. There are quite a few top pros who shoot JPEG simply for the speed and convenience of a "finished" file.
RAW files are designed to be processed. They typically have the “wrong” values for dark and light areas, not because you did anything wrong, but because these “wrong” values are "right" for processing. In addition, you will never get optimum sharpness from your camera and lens unless you sharpen your RAW files appropriately. (This is not about the quality of your lens or camera, but about how sensors deal with light.) JPEG files are usually sharpened by the camera.
The three photos of a Kentucky spring woods at top and below show a JPEG straight from the camera plus unprocessed and processed RAW images. The JPEG image (left at top and first below) is a fine image by itself. The middle, unprocessed RAW is a bit dull (totally normal – manufacturers build in that "dullness" to make the file more "processable." And the last photo is a processed RAW file.
You can set up your camera to have it create JPEGs processed to your liking. Most cameras allow you to choose and/or adjust the picture “modes” or “styles”. You can usually choose things such as neutral, landscape, portrait, etc., plus you can tweak them to a custom setting by adjusting things like contrast, saturation and sharpness. None of this applies to RAW. In the early days of digital when RAW was a pain to use and Photoshop seemed impenetrable for most photographers, I often taught this so that photographers could create different settings for different conditions, such as one for sunny days and one for cloudy days.
So, if you do none or minimal processing to images, especially if you prefer to take them straight from the camera, then JPEG is going to be best for you, regardless of what others say (most of whom have never made a test to compare a high-quality JPEG with a RAW file). If processing is important to you (and it is to me because I know that cameras often see the world differently than we do), then RAW is the way to go. But whatever way you choose, just do it and enjoy it, then forget what others say you "have to" do!