One important step in creating scales is making sure the scale measures the latent construct equally well and the same way for different groups of individuals.
Exploratory Factor Analysis
This score is an estimate of the value of the latent construct (factor) the scale is measuring for each subject. In fact, calculating this score is the final step of running a Confirmatory Factor Analysis.
by Christos Giannoulis, PhD
After you are done with the odyssey of exploratory factor analysis (aka a reliable and valid instrument)…you may find yourself at the beginning of a journey rather than the ending.
The process of performing exploratory factor analysis usually seeks to answer whether a given set of items form a coherent factor (or often several factors). If you decide on the number and type of factors, the next step is to evaluate how well those factors are measured.
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.
by Christos Giannoulis, PhD
Today, I would like to briefly describe four misconceptions that I feel are commonly perceived by novice researchers in Exploratory Factor Analysis:
Misconception 1: The choice between component and common factor extraction procedures is not so important.
In Principal Component Analysis, a set of variables is transformed into a smaller set of linear composites known as components. This method of analysis is essentially a method for data reduction.
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.
Question: Can you use Principal Component Analysis with a Training Set Test Set Model?
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. [Read more…] about Can You Use Principal Component Analysis with a Training Set Test Set Model?