chapter  19
16 Pages

Correspondence Analysis: Smoking and Motherhood, Sex and the Single Girl, and European Stereotypes

Correspondence analysis is a technique for displaying the associations among a set of categorical variables in a type of scatterplot or map, thus allowing a visual examination of the structure or pattern of these associations. A correspondence analysis should ideally be seen as an extremely useful supplement to, rather than a replacement for, the more formal inferential procedures generally used with categorical data (see Chapters 3 and 8). The aim of using correspondence analysis is summarized well in the following quotation from Greenacre (1992):

An important aspect of correspondence analysis which distinguishes it from more conventional statistical methods is that it is not a confirmatory technique, trying to prove a hypothesis, but rather an exploratory technique, trying to reveal the data content. One can say that it serves as a window onto the data, allowing researchers easier access to their numerical results and facilitating discussion of the data and possibly generating hypotheses which can be formally tested at a later stage.