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.

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.

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.

Latent variables are often called factors, especially in the context of factor analysis.

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:

There are two main types of factor analysis: exploratory and confirmatory. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) is data driven, such that the collected data determines the resulting factors. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) is used to test factors that have been developed a priori.

Think of CFA as a process for testing what you already think you know.

CFA is an integral part of structural equation modeling (SEM) and path analysis. The hypothesized factors should always be validated with CFA in a measurement model prior to incorporating them into a path or structural model. Because… garbage in, garbage out.

CFA is also a useful tool in checking the reliability of a measurement tool with a new population of subjects, or to further refine an instrument which is already in use.

Elaine will provide an overview of CFA. She will also (more…)

*I recently gave a free webinar on Principal Component Analysis. We had almost 300 researchers attend and didn’t get through all the questions. This is part of a series of answers to those questions.*

*If you missed it, you can get the webinar recording here.*

Answer: Yes and no.

Principal Component Analysis specifically *could* be used with a training and test data set, but it doesn’t make as much sense as doing so for Factor Analysis.

That’s because PCA is really just about creating an index variable from a set of correlated predictors.

Factor Analysis is an actual model that is measuring a latent variable. Any time you’re creating some sort of scale to measure an underlying construct, you want to use Factor Analysis.

Factor Analysis is definitely best done with a training and test data set.

In fact, ideally, you’d run multiple rounds of training and test data sets, in which the variables included on your scale are updated after each test. (more…)

Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) is a popular method to test hypothetical relationships between constructs in the social sciences. These constructs may be unobserved (a.k.a., “latent”) or observed (a.k.a., “manifest”).

In this webinar, guest instructor Manolo Romero Escobar will describe the different types of SEM: confirmatory factor analysis, path analysis for manifest and latent variables, and latent growth modeling (i.e., the application of SEM on longitudinal data).

We’ll discuss the different terminology, the commonly used symbology, and the different ways a model can be specified, as well as how to present results and evaluate the fit of the models.

This webinar will be at a very basic conceptual level; however, it is assumed that participants have an understanding of multiple regression, interpretation of statistical tests, and methods of data screening.