Factor Analysis is a genetic term for a somewhat vaguely delimited set of techniques for data processing, mainly applicable to the social and biological sciences. These techniques have been developed for the analysis of mutual relationships among a number of measurements made on a number of measurable entities. In the broad sense, factor analysis comprises a number of statistical models which yield testable hypotheses -- hypotheses that may confirm or disconfirm in terms of the usual statistical procedures for making tests of significance. It also comprises a number of simplifying procedures for the approximate description of data, which do not in any sense constitute disconfirmable hypotheses, except in the loose sense that they supply approximations to the data. In literature, the two types of analysis have often been confused.
This book clarifies the concepts of factor analysis for students or professionals in the social sciences who wish to know the technique, rather than the mathematics, of factor theory. Mathematical concepts are described to have an intuitive meaning for the non-mathematical reader. An account of the elements of matrix algebra, in the appendix, and the (mathematical) notes following each chapter will help the reader who wishes to receive a more advanced treatment of the subject. Factor Analysis and Related Methods should prove a useful text for graduate and advanced undergraduate students in economics, the behavioral sciences, and education. Researchers and practitioners in those fields will also find this book a handy reference.
"…an attractive option for instructors of graduate-level courses in measurement or psychometric theory….McDonald should be recognized for a contribution that will undoubtedly influence the thought of practitioners and theoretical specialists alike."
"…the knowledgeable factor analyst and structural equation modeler should find the philosophy and opinions presented to be stimulating in their own right."
—Applied Psychological Measurement
"McDonald has written a lively, readable and rather personal account of factor analysis and related methods."
—The British Journal of Mathematical & Statistical Psychology
"…contains a wealth of factor analytic fact and opinion presented in a most readable form….[McDonald's] clear, cogent explanations on many points will provide insights and lead to reflections that should enhance the understanding of factor analytic concepts and methods by anyone who picks up the book."
—Journal of Educational Statistics
Contents: Preface. Introduction. Exploratory Common Factor Analysis. The Analysis of Covariance Structures: Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Pattern Hypotheses. Models for Linear Structural Relations. The Problem of Factor Scores. Problems of Relationship Between Factor Analyses. Item Response Theory. Summary. Appendix: Some Matrix Algebra.