Table of contents
About this book
Multidimensional scaling (MDS) is a technique for the analysis of similarity or dissimilarity data on a set of objects. Such data may be intercorrelations of test items, ratings of similarity on political candidates, or trade indices for a set of countries. MDS attempts to model such data as distances among points in a geometric space. The main reason for doing this is that one wants a graphical display of the structure of the data, one that is much easier to understand than an array of numbers and, moreover, one that displays the essential information in the data, smoothing out noise. There are numerous varieties of MDS. Some facets for distinguishing among them are the particular type of geometry into which one wants to map the data, the mapping function, the algorithms used to find an optimal data representation, the treatment of statistical error in the models, or the possibility to represent not just one but several similarity matrices at the same time. Other facets relate to the different purposes for which MDS has been used, to various ways of looking at or "interpreting" an MDS representation, or to differences in the data required for the particular models. In this book, we give a fairly comprehensive presentation of MDS. For the reader with applied interests only, the first six chapters of Part I should be sufficient. They explain the basic notions of ordinary MDS, with an emphasis on how MDS can be helpful in answering substantive questions.
algorithms best fit correlation data analysis multidimensional scaling sociology statistics