Path: Janda's Home Page > Workshop > Factor Analysis
Selected Resources on Factor Analysis
This list of texts is geared toward political scientists
Factor Analysis in Contemporary Political Research
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 variables).
Pennings, Paul, Hans Keman, and Jan Kliennijenhuis. Doing Research in Political Science: An Introduction to Comparative Methods and Statistics.
London: SAGE Publications, 1999.
A comprehensive text on research methods, this book discusses factor analysis and its applications in some length, mainly in analyzing European party manifestos.
Perry, Robert L. and John D. Robertson. Comparative Analysis of Nations: Quantitative Approaches.
Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2002.
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 Analysis."
Bartholomew, 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 analysis.
A selected few of the many web site on factor analysis
Rummel's 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 it themselves."
Principal 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 excellent.
Bill 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 web site.
Explatory Factor Analysis
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."