European Political Science

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 521–538 | Cite as

testing for measurement invariance by detecting local misspecification and an illustration across online and paper-and-pencil samples

  • jan cieciuch
  • eldad davidov
  • daniel l oberski
  • rené algesheimer


Political scientists often need to evaluate whether samples are comparable, for example, when analysing different countries or time points or when comparing data collected using different methods. A necessary condition for conducting such meaningful cross-group comparisons is the establishment of measurement invariance. One of the most frequently used procedures for establishing measurement invariance is the multigroup confirmatory factor analysis. This method was criticised in the literature because it may suggest that a model fits the data although it may contain serious misspecifications. We present an alternative method to test for measurement invariance using detection of local misspecifications and illustrate its use on two data sets assessing value priorities that are often analysed in political science and collected using paper-and-pencil and web modes of data collection.


measurement invariance detection for misspecification multigroup confirmatory factor analysis (MGCFA) human values statistical power mode effects 



The work of the first, second, and fourth authors was supported by the University Research Priority Program (URPP) ‘Social Networks’, University of Zürich. The work of the third author was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) [Vici grant 453-10-002]. The second author would like to thank the EUROLAB, GESIS, Cologne, for their hospitality during work on this article. The authors would also like to thank Lisa Trierweiler for the English proof of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© European Consortium for Political Research 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • jan cieciuch
    • 1
    • 2
  • eldad davidov
    • 3
  • daniel l oberski
    • 4
  • rené algesheimer
    • 5
  1. 1.URPP Social Networks, University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Psychology, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in WarsawWarsawPoland
  3. 3.Institute of Sociology, University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of Methodology and StatisticsTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Department of Business AdministrationUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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