Polychoric versus Pearson correlations in exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of ordinal variables

Polychoric versus Pearson correlations in exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of ordinal... Given that the use of Likert scales is increasingly common in the field of social research it is necessary to determine which methodology is the most suitable for analysing the data obtained; although, given the categorization of these scales, the results should be treated as ordinal data it is often the case that they are analysed using techniques designed for cardinal measures. One of the most widely used techniques for studying the construct validity of data is factor analysis, whether exploratory or confirmatory, and this method uses correlation matrices (generally Pearson) to obtain factor solutions. In this context, and by means of simulation studies, we aim to illustrate the advantages of using polychoric rather than Pearson correlations, taking into account that the latter require quantitative variables measured in intervals, and that the relationship between these variables has to be monotonic. The results show that the solutions obtained using polychoric correlations provide a more accurate reproduction of the measurement model used to generate the data. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality & Quantity Springer Journals

Polychoric versus Pearson correlations in exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of ordinal variables

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Social Sciences; Methodology of the Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general
ISSN
0033-5177
eISSN
1573-7845
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11135-008-9190-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Given that the use of Likert scales is increasingly common in the field of social research it is necessary to determine which methodology is the most suitable for analysing the data obtained; although, given the categorization of these scales, the results should be treated as ordinal data it is often the case that they are analysed using techniques designed for cardinal measures. One of the most widely used techniques for studying the construct validity of data is factor analysis, whether exploratory or confirmatory, and this method uses correlation matrices (generally Pearson) to obtain factor solutions. In this context, and by means of simulation studies, we aim to illustrate the advantages of using polychoric rather than Pearson correlations, taking into account that the latter require quantitative variables measured in intervals, and that the relationship between these variables has to be monotonic. The results show that the solutions obtained using polychoric correlations provide a more accurate reproduction of the measurement model used to generate the data.

Journal

Quality & QuantitySpringer Journals

Published: Sep 7, 2008

References

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