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Instead of making thousands of maps to show how frequently different MSAs gave every answer to each of the 626 questions, I used a statistical method called to find patterns in how questions were answered.
Factor analysis takes a dataset with a huge number of variables and automatically looks for patterns.
These patterns then help you (in this case, me) summarize what’s happening across this huge set of variables in a more comprehensible, less tedium-filled way.
For this case, our big dataset is the list of how a “typical member” of each MSA responded to each question.
Even more skipped a question about the politics of the education system.For example, when the factor analysis recognized that members who answered , Drugs) rather than a map for each possible response to every question.