Akhtar-Danesh, Noori. (2017). A comparison between major factor extraction and factor rotation techniques in Q-methodology. Open Journal of Applied Sciences, 7, 147-156. (doi: 10.4236/ojapps.2017.74013)

Abstract: The statistical analysis in Q-methodology is based on factor analysis followed by a factor rotation. Currently, the most common factor extraction methods are centroid and principal component extractions and the common techniques for factor rotation are manual rotation and varimax rotation. However, there are some other factor extraction methods such as principal axis factoring and factor rotation methods such as quartimax and equamax which are not used by Q-users because they have not been implemented in any major Q-program. In this article we briefly explain some major factor extraction and factor rotation techniques and compare these techniques using three datasets. We applied principal component and principal axis factoring methods for factor extraction and varimax, equamax, and quartimax factor rotation techniques to three actual datasets. We compared these techniques based on the number of Q-sorts loaded on each factor, number of distinguishing statements on each factor, and excluded Q-sorts. There was not much difference between principal component and principal axis factoring factor extractions. The main findings of this article include emergence of a general factor and a smaller number of excluded Q-sorts based on quartimax rotation. Another interesting finding was that a smaller number of distinguishing statements for factors based on quartimax rotation compared to varimax and equamax rotations. These findings are not conclusive and further analysis on more datasets is needed.

Noori Akhtar-Danesh <daneshn@mcmaster.ca> is in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Nursing, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and is a former president of the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity.

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