Analysis in Contemporary Political
- Political research,
including methods of research, goes through "fads."
Certain methods--such as factor analysis and path
analysis--were once hot topics often reported in the
pages of the American Political Science Review.
Although factor analysis (and path analysis) are no
longer the rage in political science, both have their
place in political research. In other scientific fields,
factor analysis is very much in vogue. An internet search
for "factor analysis" in mid-January 2003 turned up
132,000 hits. Even limiting the search to "factor
analysis" and "political" returned 15,500 hits. So
the method is certainly alive.
Rummel, R.J. Applied Factor Analysis.
- Evanston: Northwestern
University Press, 1970.
- Rudy Rummel was a
1963 Northwestern PhD who applied factor analysis
in his dissertation, "Dimensions of conflict
behavior within and between nations." Having
acquired considerable knowledge of the methodology,
he wrote this 600+ page book, which still should be
consulted on special topics (such as
operationalization and transformation of
- Pennings, Paul,
Hans Keman, and Jan Kliennijenhuis.
Doing Research in Political Science: An Introduction
to Comparative Methods and Statistics.
- London: SAGE
- A comprehensive
text on research methods, this book discusses
factor analysis and its applications in some
length, mainly in analyzing European party
- Perry, Robert L.
and John D. Robertson. Comparative Analysis of
Nations: Quantitative Approaches.
- Boulder, CO: Westview
- This is less a
comprehensive text on research methods than a
compilation of research applications in comparative
political analysis. Chapter 14, which runs for
about 30 pages, is titled, "Factor Analysis as a
Tool of Data Reduction within Cross-National
David J., et al. The Analysis and Interpretation of
Multivariate Data for Social Scientists.
- Boca Raton, FL: Chapman
& Hall/CRC Press, 2002.
- This new book aims
at giving "students with limited mathematical and
statistical knowledge a basic understanding of some
of the main multivariate methods and the knowledge
to carry them out." It provides an excellent
introduction to a variety of multivariate
procedures: cluster analysis, multidimensional
scaling, and correspondence analysis--in addition
to four chapters on factor analysis, preceded by a
separate chapter on principal components
Web Site on Factor Analysis
- Rudy writes: "Many of
the statistical analyses on this web site use factor
analysis to dimensionalize data or to uncover underlying
causes or factors. A number of these are consolidated in
the "Dimensions of Democide, Power, Violence, and
Nations" part of the site. This article (a summary of
Rummel's Applied Factor Analysis, 1970) may
therefore be helpful to those who would like to
understand better this method in association with the
democide and conflict results presented here, or to apply
Components and Factor Analysis
- This web site is from
the electronic textbook that accompanies Statistica,
a major statistical analysis package produced by
StatSoft, Inc. I've never used that program, but the
quality of discussion on this web site is
Trochim on Factor Analysis
- William MK Trochim is a
Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and
Management at Cornell University and hosts a Center for
Research Methods. This is a very readable and informative
- A book manuscript on
factor analysis by Ledyard Tucker and Robert MacCallum,
who wrote: "The project was not completed, and will not
be completed. We did not complete planned material on
confirmatory factor analysis and a variety of advanced
topics. In addition, the manuscript is incomplete in that
there is no index or list of references, and appendices
that are mentioned in the text are not available.
Nevertheless, the completed material does provide an
extensive technical treatment of the factor analysis
model as well as methods for conducting exploratory
factor analysis. We have decided to make the manuscript
available free to anyone who wants it."