Accommodation, prediction and replication: model selection in scale construction

Synthese 196 (10):4329-4350 (2019)
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Abstract

In psychology, measurement instruments are constructed from scales, which are obtained on the grounds of exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Looking at the literature, one can find various recommendations regarding how these techniques should be used during the scale construction process. Some authors suggest to use exploratory factor analysis on the entire data set while others advice to perform an internal cross-validation by randomly splitting the data set in two and then either perform exploratory factor analysis on both parts or exploratory factor analysis on the first part and confirmatory factor analysis on the other. In spite of all these divergent recommendations, there is no consensus on which method yields the best result. In this paper, we analyze this issue in light of the prediction versus accommodation debate and argue that the answer to this question depends on one’s conception of the criteria that should be used to achieve the goals of the scientific enterprise.

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Clayton Peterson
Université de Montréal

Citations of this work

Methodological empiricism and the choice of measurement models in social sciences.Clayton Peterson - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):831-854.

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References found in this work

The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
Prediction versus accommodation and the risk of overfitting.Christopher Hitchcock & Elliott Sober - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (1):1-34.
Logical versus historical theories of confirmation.Alan Musgrave - 1974 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 25 (1):1-23.
Multiple factor analysis.L. L. Thurstone - 1931 - Psychological Review 38 (5):406-427.

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