- factor analysis
- A variation of multidimensional scaling that is used to
identify underlying factors that might account for a wide range
of observed characteristics.

- factorial ANOVA
- Analysis of variance procedure for evaluating factorial
designs.

- factorial design
- Research designs employing more than one independent
variable simultaneously. The major advantage of a factorial
design is that it can measure the interactive effects of two or
more independent variables.

- factors
- Each of the independent variables is a factor.

- facts
- Empirically observed events.

- factual items
- In questionnaires and interviews, factual items are those
questions that can be independently verified, such as the
respondent's age, gender, and occupation. In contrast,
*content items*cannot be factually verified.

- field research
- Research conducted outside the laboratory. Field research
might include low-constraint research, such as naturalistic or
case-study research, or may include higher constraint procedures
conducted in natural settings. An advantage of field research is
that results more easily generalize because observations are
made in a real-world setting.

- fields (in computer files)
- In data files, the field represents a variable, which has a
score for each participant. Normally the fields are shown as
columns in a data matrix, and rows represent
*records*.

- filler items
- Questions in the dependent measure but not scored as part of
the dependent measure. Their purpose is to distract participants
from the purpose of the study.

- floor effect
- See
*scale attenuation effects.*

- flowchart
- Organizational device that allows one to reach a decision by
following a path defined by answers to particular questions.
Appendix D illustrates the use of flowcharts to select the
appropriate statistical test for any given research procedure.

*F*-ratio- A test statistic computed by taking the ratio of two
variances.
*F*-ratios are used most often in analysis of variance in which the two variance estimates are based on (1) the difference between group means and (2) the difference among participants within groups.

*F*-test- See
*F-ratio*.

- free random assignment
- Assignment of participants to groups so that the assignment
of any given participant has no effect on the assignment of any
other participant.

- frequencies
- The number of objects or participants that fall into a
specified category. Frequencies represent
*nominal data*.

- frequency data
- Synonymous with
*nominal data*.

- frequency distribution
- Organizational device used to simplify large data sets.

- frequency polygon
- Graph that illustrates a frequency distribution. It is
constructed by putting a dot above each possible score (which
are listed on the
*x*-axis) at a height that indicates the frequency of that score (which is indicated on the*y*-axis). The dots are then connected to form a graph of the frequency distribution.

- functional theory
- Functional theories tend to emphasize equally the inductive
and deductive aspects of theory building. Often contrasted with
*inductive theory*and*deductive theory*.

- functionalism
- A philosophical perspective that stresses the need to study
how the mind functions. Often contrasted with
*structuralism*.

- fundamental research
- Another term for
*basic research*.