Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

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The research glossary defines terms used in conducting social science and policy research, for example those describing methods, measurements, statistical procedures, and other aspects of research; the child care glossary defines terms used to describe aspects of child care and early education practice and policy.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Z
Exploratory Factor Analysis
A multivariate statistical method used to uncover the underlying structure (factors) of a set of variables. It is a form of factor analysis whose goal is to identify the underlying relationships between measured variables. It is especially useful when there is no hypothesis about the underlying structure of the data and the pattern of relationships between the variables. Researchers often use exploratory factor analysis to develop scales from multiple survey or assessment items. It is a way of reducing the number of items to be used in an analysis to a smaller and more meaningful set.
Exploratory Study
An exploratory study is conducted to begin to understand a research problem or question when there are few or no earlier studies and/or limited theory to refer to or rely upon to answer the question. The focus is on gaining insights and familiarity for later investigation. Many variables are often taken into account and compared, using a variety of techniques in the search for patterns.
External Validity
The degree to which the results of a study can be generalized beyond the study sample to a larger population.
Extraneous Variable
A variable that interferes with the relationship between the independent and dependent variables and which therefore needs to be controlled for in some way.
Extrapolation
Predicting the value of unknown data points by projecting beyond the range of known data points.
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