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On the Interpretation of Factor Analysis

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  • J.S. Armstrong

    (The Wharton School)

Abstract

The importance of the researcher^Rs interpretation of factor analysis is illustrated by means of an example. The results from this example appear to be meaningful and easily interpreted. The example omits any measure of reliability or validity. If a measure of reliability had been included, it would have indicated the worthlessness of the results. A survey of 46 recent papers from 6 journals supported the claim that the example is typical, two-thirds of the papers provide no measure of reliability. In fact, some papers did not even provide sufficient information to allow for replication. To improve the current situation some measure of factor reliability should accompany applied studies that utilize factor analysis. Three operational approaches are suggested for obtaining measures of factor reliability: use of split samples, Monte Carlo simulation, and a priori models.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/get/papers/0502/0502003.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series General Economics and Teaching with number 0502003.

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Length: 5 pages
Date of creation: 04 Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpgt:0502003

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 5
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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Keywords: factor analysis;

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  1. J. Guilford, 1961. "Psychological measurement a hundred and twenty-five years later," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 109-127, March.
  2. Louis Guttman, 1954. "Some necessary conditions for common-factor analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 149-161, June.
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