Structural Equation Modelling (975C8)

15 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

Structural equation modelling (SEM) is a general method of data analysis that brings together path analysis and factor analysis. In path analysis, the aim is to specify and test models of causal relationships among variables, and to estimate direct and indirect effects. SEM extends traditional path analysis by estimating models simultaneously and by providing overall measures of model fit. In factor analysis, the goal is to identify unobserved, latent variables that account for the relationships between observed variables. Traditionally, this has been data driven - that is, the factors emerge from the analysis - and known as exploratory factor analysis. In SEM, the emphasis is on confirmatory factor analysis where you propose a factor model and test to see whether it fits the data. Finally, SEM allows you to combine path analysis and confirmatory factor analysis by testing models of causal relationships among hypothesised factors.

The module will provide a thorough introduction to SEM, and will also deal with some important, related issues. These include mediation analysis, and moderation, and methods for handling missing data. The emphasis will be on analyzing continuous variables with approximately normal distributions, but we will also cover how to handle nonnormal data. Most of the analyses will be carried out with a SEM software package and a further aim of the module is to enable you to use this program.

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 117 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We’re planning to run this module in the academic year 2020/21. However, there may be changes to this module in response to COVID-19, or due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. It may not be possible to take some module combinations due to timetabling constraints. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.