Quantitative analysis of qualitative data
- Cite this article as:
- Young, F.W. Psychometrika (1981) 46: 357. doi:10.1007/BF02293796
This paper presents an overview of an approach to the quantitative analysis of qualitative data with theoretical and methodological explanations of the two cornerstones of the approach, Alternating Least Squares and Optimal Scaling. Using these two principles, my colleagues and I have extended a variety of analysis procedures originally proposed for quantitative (interval or ratio) data to qualitative (nominal or ordinal) data, including additivity analysis and analysis of variance; multiple and canonical regression; principal components; common factor and three mode factor analysis; and multidimensional scaling. The approach has two advantages: (a) If a least squares procedure is known for analyzing quantitative data, it can be extended to qualitative data; and (b) the resulting algorithm will be convergent. Three completely worked through examples of the additivity analysis procedure and the steps involved in the regression procedures are presented.