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BESC1437 Philosophy and Methodology of Psychology Factor Analysis Report What is this assignment about? One of the uses

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BESC1437
Philosophy and Methodology of Psychology
Factor Analysis Report
What is this assignment about?
One of the uses of factor analysis is to reduce large measures to smaller measures that are more easily administered. In this assignment you’ll be conducting your own factor analysis using a pool of 23 items assessing hoarding symptoms. You are likely to find that these 23 items group into three factors, which you will need to work out appropriate labels for.
Your aim is to reduce this 23-item, 3-factor scale into a shortened form that is 15 items or less, but still assesses 3 factors. In other words, systematically remove the weakest items from the factor analysis solution until either (a) you’ve created a shortened scale that you’re happy with; and/or (b) the removal of further items causes the factor solution to become poorer rather than better. The results of your factor analysis work will be written up in a brief report (largely resembling the results section of a full lab report).
Why are we doing this?
Factor analysis is the core statistical skill that we are learning this semester. It has immediate applications to the personality, social, organisational, forensic, and clinical sub-disciplines of psychology, and together with related techniques component analysis, latent class analysis, cluster analysis, and taxometric analysis, is useful across a range of corporate and industrial purposes as well. Data analysis is one of the primary skills that a person graduating from an undergraduate psychology degree can market to employers, so this assignment will boost your employability whilst training your decisiveness, clarity of communication, attention to detail, and time management.
Data: The SPSS data file for this assignment is PMP Assignment 1 Hoarding.sav available on Blackboard. The data file contains the statements that were administered as items.
Due Date: Please refer to the Syllabus or Assignments sections of the Canvas page for this course.
Word Limit: 1,000 words excluding tables (remember that expressing yourself in a straightforward and concise fashion is looked upon favourably in scientific writing).
Overall Weighting: This assignment is worth 45% of your final mark for the course. Your assignment mark will be provided to you as a percentage for clarity, and this will be converted to the appropriate weighting when your final mark is tallied at the end of the semester.
Instructions Pretend that you’ve just collected this data as part of a project that you are running. You’re excited about finding out what factors are underlying the data! Nothing can stop you! Your next step is to conduct factor analysis on the data and write up your spectacular findings in a compelling report.
Your report will largely resemble the results section of a conventional lab report. Tables in the report can be presented in whatever font size and line-spacing you feel makes them most clear and readable (the rest of the assignment should be presented in 1.5 or double line-spacing, and of course Times New Roman font, Size 12). It is fine if you need to present larger tables on landscape-oriented pages, however the main text of the assignment should be in portrait orientation. In this assignment, it would be best to integrate the tables in with the text of your responses, just like in a printed journal article, rather than leaving them all until the end. You will find examples of the tables that you are expected to present in the lecture slides for this course.
You will require SPSS for this assignment. You will have access to SPSS online through RMIT
University’s myDesktop service, and therefore you should not need to purchase SPSS to complete this assignment. Note that to open the assignment data file in SPSS on myDesktop, you will need to transfer the data file itself to myDesktop first. There is no need to append any SPSS output to the end of your report, as your output should be reflected in your tables within the report. A handy tip for making sure that you can access your data output on a computer that does not have SPSS installed is to export your output to a .pdf file.
You may require references. Include any references cited in-text in an APA-formatted reference list at the end of the assignment.
Marking Rubric
Your assignment will be marked by aggregating the following qualities, all equally weighted:
1. Structure (25%). Is all of the content that one would want to see in a comprehensive factor analysis report present, and is it being given to the reader in a logical order? Is the report concise and focused, or does it amble along and run off on tangents?
2. Data Presentation (25%). Is all of the necessary data, both in-text and tabulated, present and formatted correctly? Is your factor analysis replicable based on how you have described it within your report?
3. Statistical Knowledge (25%). Does your write-up demonstrate a sound understanding of the principles of factor analysis, including the justification of any choices that you make? Are the important elements of the output described and emphasised accurately?
4. Thoughtfulness and Expression (25%). Is your report interesting and compelling, showing that you are capable of thinking flexibly and evaluatively about the concepts and variables that you are working with?
Helpful Advice
Panic! How Do I Write This Assignment? Why Are You So Mean?!
Hint: Stay cool, believe in yourself, and take things one step at a time. The lecture slides describe pretty much everything you would want to include in a factor analysis write-up, including the tables. Use this in favour of any examples drawn from journal articles, as these are often condensed and/or subject to the specific formatting requirements of the journal. However, checking out some journal articles that have reported factor analysis could be helpful in providing some statistical reporting language for you to emulate.
Avoid Making Major Errors (On The Assignment, But Ideally In Life Generally Too)
Copying and pasting output directly from SPSS will heavily impact your mark, as it shows an inability to work with data and a lack of consideration for formatting and professionalism. Similarly, conducting component analysis rather than factor analysis will also heavily impact your mark, as it shows a lack of understanding for the theoretical underpinnings of factor analysis. Avoid doing these two things and you’ll have a fighting chance to do well.
Know When To Stop With The Factor Analysis
Factor analysis can be quite interpretive, and sometimes people can get hung up on finding a perfect and neat solution. This isn’t always likely with real data, so remember that at some point you will have to be content with one of the solutions that you have identified. Experiment a bit and find a solution that you think works for you, but remember to keep track of the time you have available. Also, don’t panic if you think that your final factor solution is different to those of other people – there are a number of plausible solutions, although you will need to make sure that yours is well justified.
Manage Your Time Effectively
As mentioned earlier, factor analysis can be time-consuming at first – you’ll likely be running them slowly, step by step, and possibly will fall into the trap of overthinking where to go with your analysis (which is still probably better than underthinking!). The expectation is that you will be working on this assignment over the few weeks that you have available, rather than trying to finish it all in one go on the day it is due.

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