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THE PATH ANALYSIS TECHNIQUE IN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH: BRIDGING THE THEORY‐EMPIRICISM GAP

DOUGLAS J. THOM (Course Director, Advanced Studies in the Management of Education, School of Education, University of Hong Kong)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 1 January 1983

140

Abstract

The path analysis technique was introduced in educational research relatively recently. It is very effective for conceptualizing research and for linking theory and the “real world”. Major advances are possible if more researchers in education would adopt this technique. However, the outward complex appearance of path analysis diagrams with their many variables, straight and curved arrows and numerical coefficients, and the terminology such as “residuals” and “recursive” associated with discussions of the technique tend to deter researchers. In this article the author gives an overview of the technique in simple terms. Its strengths and weaknesses are discussed and suggestions are made about how to commence use of the technique. Several examples of path analysis used in educational research are presented. The discussion is of an introductory nature with the hope that readers will develop a confidence to investigate the technique further. The intention of the author here is not to debate the many specific, provocative and complex issues about definition, terminology and interpretation surrounding the technique which methodology specialists continue to discuss as the use of the technique grows.

Citation

THOM, D.J. (1983), "THE PATH ANALYSIS TECHNIQUE IN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH: BRIDGING THE THEORY‐EMPIRICISM GAP", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 40-51. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb009867

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1983, MCB UP Limited

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