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Investigating the Psychological WorldScientific Method in the Behavioral Sciences$
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Brian D. Haig

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027366

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027366.001.0001

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Theory Generation

Theory Generation

Exploratory Factor Analysis

Chapter:
(p.59) 3 Theory Generation
Source:
Investigating the Psychological World
Author(s):

Brian D. Haig

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027366.003.0003

This chapter considers the abductive nature of theory generation by examining the logic and purpose of the method of exploratory factor analysis. It is argued that the common factors that result from using this method are not fictions, but latent variables, which are best understood as genuine theoretical entities. This realist interpretation of factors is supported by showing that exploratory factor analysis is an abductive generator of elementary theories that exploits an important heuristic of scientific methodology known as the principle of the common cause.

Keywords:   exploratory factor analysis, existential abduction, principle of the common cause, confirmatory factor analysis

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