Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) is the fundamental first step in running most types of SEM models. You want to do this first to verify the measurement quality of any and all latent constructs you’re using in your structural equation model.
OptinMon 35 - Gentle Introduction to SEM
Many times in science we are intrigued to measure an underlying characteristic that cannot be observed or measured directly. This measure is hypothesized to exist to explain variables, such as behavior, that can be observed.
The measurable variables are called manifest variables. The unmeasurable are called latent variables.
We mentioned before that we use Confirmatory Factor Analysis to evaluate whether the relationships among the variables are adequately represented by the hypothesized factor structure. The factor structure (relationships between factors and variables) can be based on theoretical justification or previous findings.
Once we estimate the relationship indicators of those factors, the next task is to determine the extent to which these structure specifications are consistent with the data. The main question we are trying to answer is:
We get many questions from clients who use the terms mediator and moderator interchangeably.
They are easy to confuse, yet mediation and moderation are two distinct terms that require distinct statistical approaches.
The key difference between the concepts can be compared to a case where a moderator lets you know when an association will occur while a mediator will inform you how or why it occurs.
If you already know the principles of general linear modeling (GLM) you are on the right path to understand Structural Equation Modeling (SEM).
As you could see from my previous post, SEM offers the flexibility of adding paths between predictors in a way that would take you several GLM models and still leave you with unanswered questions.
It also helps you use latent variables (as you will see in future posts).
GLM is just one of the pieces of the puzzle to fit SEM to your data. You also need to have an understanding of:
[Read more…] about Five things you need to know before learning Structural Equation Modeling
What is a latent variable?
“The many, as we say, are seen but not known, and the ideas are known but not seen” (Plato, The Republic)
My favourite image to explain the relationship between latent and observed variables comes from the “Myth of the Cave” from Plato’s The Republic. In this myth a group of people are constrained to face a wall. The only things they see are shadows of objects that pass in front of a fire [Read more…] about Structural Equation Modeling: What is a Latent Variable?