n IFE PsychologIA : An International Journal - The impact of small samples sizes in factor analytical studies




In the social sciences, researchers are often confronted with the problem of getting the appropriate sample to test for significance. In fact, it may not be out of place to suggest that peers reviewers or journal editors also have difficulties accepting problematic papers where sample sizes and statistical power are paramount, especially in factor analytical studies. The initial aim of this study was to understand the factor structure of the Pettigrew and Meertens (1995) scale on blatant and subtle prejudice using a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). But it turned out that the nature and character of the sample size problems in the study had a significant bearing on the outcome of the study. In a cross sectional design, using an availability sampling approach, this study used a variety of samples ranging from medium (n=113) to small (n=19) sample sizes of seven groups to explore the impact of small sample sizes in factor analytic studies. Data was imputed in SPSS 18.0 and analysed in AMOS 18.0. Results revealed that sample sizes indeed had varying impacts on research outcomes which researchers often take for granted. The implications of these findings are broadly discussed and areas of further research suggested.


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