Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Margaret E. Ross
Factor-analytic procedures are used to reduce a set of measured or observed variables down to a smaller number of conceptual variables by grouping them on the basis of the correlation coefficients among them. Measured variables that correlate strongly are considered to be linked to an unobserved conceptual variable, often referred to as a latent variable or a construct . A common use of factor analysis is to provide evidence that valid inferences can be made on the basis of scores from an instrument that purports to measure specific constructs. For example, a school administrator might be interested in measuring the learning approaches of students using a self-report survey instrument. Based on theory, students might use a memorization approach or a higher-order thinking approach to learning. The memorization approach is one ...