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Handbook of Research Methods in Tourism

Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches

Edited by Larry Dwyer, Alison Gill and Neelu Seetaram

This insightful book explores the most important established and emerging qualitative and quantitative research methods in tourism. The authors provide a detailed overview of the nature of the research method, its use in tourism, the advantages and limitations, and future directions for research.
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Chapter 10: Factor Analysis

Chau Vu and Lindsay Turner


Lindsay W. Turner and Chau Vu INTRODUCTION Factor analysis as a generic term that is increasingly used to encompass all forms of analysis intended to uncover latent structure within a set of data. The very intent of such an analysis is fundamental to a wide variety of problems encountered in tourism because, as a social science, there is significant requirement to measure unstructured concepts, as opposed to structured items with readily measurable attributes such as height, weight, length, and width. In tourism the concepts requiring measurement relate to social systems involving values, attitudes, motivations, risks, satisfaction, and beliefs. Tourism is a combination of study fields in the social sciences where a great many problems contain such unstructured elements. Consequently, there is a huge body of published research in tourism that uses factor analytic methods. The objective of this chapter is to discuss the background of the methods involved, explain how the methods work, highlight some examples of their applications and discuss their advantages and limitations. EVOLUTION OF FACTOR ANALYSIS Spearman (1904) is given the recognition for developing the factor analysis technique but like all complex methods there is a history of considerable research development reaching through to current use. Spearman’s model focused upon deriving just one common function to derive intellectual activity. The work continued through to 1930 with the major contributors Cyril Burt, Karl Holzinger, Truman Kelly, Karl Pearson, and Godfrey Thomson. It was Pearson in 1901 who was arguably the first to develop a practical method for factor...

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