Workshops in Methods
Indiana University:


"Rotating through m-space since 1984! "

12:00 Noon-3:00 p.m.
Friday, December 7, 2012
Room 120 Woodburn Hall

Instructor: William Jacoby
Michigan State University
Department of Political Science

Would you like to draw pictures of your data, in ways that reveal structures which are not obvious from inspection of the data values, alone? Multidimensional scaling (MDS) tries to accomplish exactly that objective. To be more precise, MDS produces a “map” of stimuli, based upon information about the “proximities” among those stimuli.

Multidimensional scaling methods have many potential applications in empirical research. They can be used to: simplify the contents of large, complex datasets; model similarities among sets of objects; estimate the cognitive structures underlying survey responses; and optimize the measurement characteristics of qualitative observations. MDS can be generalized to show individual differences across distinct data sources (e..g, subsets of survey respondents or data collected at different time points). It also can be adapted to represent respondent preferences among a set of stimuli (so-called “ideal points” models).

This workshop will provide an introduction to multidimensional scaling. Specific topics to be covered include: The basic idea of MDS; types of data that might be input to MDS; the general estimation procedure; interpretation of results; different varieties of MDS; and software options for performing MDS analyses. The workshop is geared toward a general audience. It does not assume any prior experience with MDS or familiarity with advanced statistical methods (i.e., beyond basic regression analysis).

Workshop Outline:

Presentation Slides:


MDS of Intercity Driving Distances:

MDS of Socioeconomic Characteristics of Ten US Cities

MDS of 1992 American Presidential Candidates

MDS of 2004 American Presidential Candidates

Interpreting Multidimensional Scaling Solutions

Multidimensional Scaling in R

ICPSR Summer Program | William Jacoby Web Site