Meeting Info


The D-Lab, 356 Barrows (unless otherwise noted)


Wednesdays from 4-5pm


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Factor Analysis, Surveys, etc.

19 Feb 2014

Topics from Paper

For this, week, please try to read through all of the Fabrigar paper on Exploratory Factor Analysis. It’s technical, but even if you don’t follow the detail, it raises what I consider to be a fairly complete set of high-level issues - which is what we’ll focus on this week:

  • Latent Variables
  • Exploratory vs. Confirmatory techniques
  • Descriptive / Data Mining techniques vs. Model Theoretic techniques
  • Dealing with ordinal scales (e.g., Likert scales; discussed in supplemental materials)

Here’s what we read:

Fabrigar, L. R., Wegener, D. T., MacCallum, R. C., & Strahan, E. J. (1999). Evaluating the use of exploratory factor analysis in psychological research. Psychological Methods, 4(3), 272.

Flora, D. B., & Curran, P. J. (2004). An Empirical Evaluation of Alternative Methods of Estimation for Confirmatory Factor Analysis With Ordinal Data. Psychological Methods, 9(4), 466–491. doi:10.1037/1082-989X.9.4.466

For background, I’ve included a handout from Wicken’s psych stats class, as well as a fairly technical overview of Confirmatory Factor Analysis by Flora and Curran. Both of these are supplemental. The latter discusses methods for ordinal scales like Likert items, which aren’t covered in the Fabrigar paper. Examples:

  • Movement patterns
  • Survey data
  • Voting / adjudicating behavior (a la Ryan’s research)
  • Physiologic / health data


Jess can come after Feb 26 (week after next) - plan on Bayesian / Frequentist stats meetings after that?

Anything else?