Show Summary Details
Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of key concepts

Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of key concepts (1st edn)

Jean-Frédéric Morin, Christian Olsson, and Ece Özlem Atikcan
Page of

Printed from Oxford Politics Trove. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 08 December 2021

p. 115F. Factor Analysis

Uncovering Unobservable Constructslocked

p. 115F. Factor Analysis

Uncovering Unobservable Constructslocked

  • Ulf Liebe

Abstract

This chapter examines factor analysis, which is used to test whether a set of observable or manifest variables can measure one or more unobservable or latent constructs that they have in common. Such constructs are called factors. Factor analysis is therefore a data reduction method. In its foundation period, factor analysis was often applied to the study of general intelligence and mental abilities. Nowadays factor analysis is a workhorse for quantitative research in the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. There are two types of factor analysis: exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis. Exploratory factor analysis is used for examining the underlying structures in a set of variables. Confirmatory factor analysis is used to test theoretical hypotheses; the researcher assumes that variables are interrelated in a specific way and uses factor analysis to find out whether the assumption is supported by the data — i.e. to what extent the data fits the predefined structure.

You do not currently have access to this chapter

Sign in

Please sign in to access the full content.

Subscribe

Access to the full content requires a subscription