Category Archives: Factor Analysis

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Filed under Data Analysis, Factor Analysis, Journals, Meetings, NetGen, Writing

Informal meeting about Lit Review

Mood:  cool
Now Playing: The Loco-motion (Little Eva)
Topic: Meetings

So, had a meeting with James this morning in the refectory – supposingly about my lit review. But we never really got to around to it properly. I knew it was bad – and I told him so – and he says he thinks that I knew where I did badly. And that is the truth I do know. But he suggested I speak to John in relation to ATI and ASI with respect to disciplines to help focus my arguments better.

As for the data analysis of the data I’m collected – we are not entirely sure how to go about that – we reckon for the ATI and ASI (if I do get that off) – we’ll just follow the analysis method of John – i.e. factor analysis since he obviously knows what he is doing. I explained to James that I am not so confident with factor analysis, and he suggested that I have a talk with John about that too and invite him along to the meeting – since it will be good for him to learn about that too. So, that should be good – if I can get a hold of John.

James also suggested looking at intermediate steps in CAS particularly in calculus such as differential equations, integrals etc. and numerical solutions. He said he would try and get some papers and direct them to me. We’ll see how that goes. Also, mention that there might be different types of black boxes – not certain what that is – but got to find that out too.

I was telling James that I’ve not given a reason why I have chosen linear programming – and I say probably one of the strongest reasons is that because it is taught in different disciplines. Then, James brought up an interesting point – why will one want to study different disciplines? There must be a reason – are there different ways of learning in different disciplines or do students learn the same way no matter what discipline they are in??? These are somethings quite interesting. Or are teaching very different in disciplines?? Now, this can be the impetus for checking the ATIs for the different disciplines. So, got to find lit for that to see if my hypothesis is right :).

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Filed under Factor Analysis, Literature Review, MSc, Supervisors

John’s paper

Mood:  lazy
Now Playing: Dekho Maine Dekha Hai (Love Story)
Topic: Factor Analysis

Well, I’ve been reading the paper John sent me on “Teacher’s beliefs and intentions concerning teaching in higher education” (first author is Norton, L.). I only have the author’s proof mind you … so the document might change … but so far very interesting document … I am taking my time reading through it since I believe I may use similar methodology in my work. I’ve only read the first 9 pages of the 35 page document!!!!! Oh well, I took a short break to read up on factor analysis in Andy Field’s “Discovering Statistics” – it is much easier read than Howell’s “Statistical Methods for Psychology” … besides Howell doesn’t have factor analysis. Had to do that before I proceed further into the paper – because I think I would have been lost!

I think I’ve finally understand factor analysis … (well … at least to understand the words when I read the article) … for so many years when I read those stupid papers on their questionnaires and their mention of factor loadings and varimax used to get me so confused … and what they meant by a factor … I finally think I know … Could you imagine, these factors that these people supposingly discover, are just a figment of their imagination … well, not literally, but they are taking variables that cluster together … and then they ‘dream up’ some word that will describe what these variables are describing … like if age correlated with sex (M/F) and those two correlated with hair colour … then they will say that factor is personal characteristics … but whose to say the factor is actually personal characteristics but not describing something different … you got to know good vocabulary to come up with these factor words … to know what they could be related to … you should take an English course in word association for factor analysis in my opinion. As for varimax … its just simply a way of understanding the data better by transforming it… and the transformation is accomplished by just rotating the data about the factor axes – yup the factors – whatever name you decide to call them, can be considered on their own right as a kind of variable, and have relationships with one another, and hence can be plotted as a graph, with each having an axis!! If the variable (a real variable from the questionnaire) seems to be more incorporated towards one factor then it has a higher factor loading (basically a larger value on that factor’s axis). But yeah that reminds me … these variables from questionnaires … what exactly are they?? I mean Field gave me the impression that the variables can be a question from the questionnaire … but reading other people’s papers … I got the impression that variables are pre-determined and questions are asked that relate to that variable, and the means from these questions are used to represent the score of the variable. Now … who’s to say that those questions accurately measure that variable?? Won’t a separate factor analysis will be needed on these set of questions, to see if they are measuring one thing i.e. the variable – then from a factor analysis, only one factor should be given … not sure if this is sense to anyone out there … but it is making perfect sense to me!

John’s paper by the way is looking at teaching beliefs and teaching intentions of teachers in higher education institutes … cool isn’t it? They used a questionnaire based on some guys called Gow and Kember … can’t find a reason why they used it -probably in the paper somewhere and I am missing it. Anyway, this will be cool to check if teaching beliefs or intentions are related to the use of software and its types … don’t you think? Well … first got to develop a questionnaire like Gow and Kember for classifying the software into computational and learning tool (unless I can find one … somebody help me please!!!)… and maybe then I can find some factors … and throw in the words varimax and factor loading wherever I feel like!

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Filed under Factor Analysis, Literature Review, MSc, Supervisors