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The Philosophy of Quantitative MethodsUnderstanding Statistics$
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Brian D. Haig

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190222055

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190222055.001.0001

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Exploratory Factor Analysis

Exploratory Factor Analysis

(p.117) 6 Exploratory Factor Analysis
The Philosophy of Quantitative Methods

Brian D. Haig

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 argues that exploratory factor analysis is an abductive method of theory generation that exploits a principle of scientific inference known as the principle of the common cause. Factor analysis is an important family of multivariate statistical methods that is widely used in the behavioral and social sciences. The best known model of factor analysis is common factor analysis, which has two types: exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis. A number of methodological issues that arise in critical discussions of exploratory factor analysis are considered. It is suggested that exploratory factor analysis can be profitably employed in tandem with confirmatory factor analysis.

Keywords:   exploratory factor analysis, abductive inference, common cause principle, methodological challenges, confirmatory factor analysis

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