Course Leader: Dr Chris Stride, The University of Sheffield

Who was the course aimed at?

This course was aimed at two distinct groups; those seeking a beginners’ course in Path Analysis techniques such as Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) and Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA); and those with some previous experience of Structural Equation Modelling who wished to learn to use the powerful and elegant MPlus software, which can be employed in an incredibly wide range of model fitting scenarios.

Course level

A basic knowledge of Exploratory Factor Analysis and the ideas behind multiple regression analysis was advantageous to participants. No previous knowledge or experience with SEM or the MPlus software was assumed.

Course content and aims

  • The course covered the following topics:
  • Introduction to Path Analysis – what is it and why do we need it?
  • Assessing the fit of a Structural Equation Model
  • Comparing competing Structural Equation Models
  • Preparing and importing data into MPlus from SPSS
  • Getting started with analysis in MPlus – the basics of the software
  • Fitting a simple Confirmatory Factor Analysis in MPlus
  • Fitting a simple Structural Equation Model in MPlus
  • Testing for indirect effects in Structural Equation Models
  • Fitting Structural Equation Models with missing data
  • Including Categorical variables in Structural Equation Models
  • Multiple group analysis

The course was comprised of a mixture of short lectures on the basic theory behind Structural Equation Models, teaching via examples worked through by the trainer on real data sets which participants could follow, and exercises to practice the skills just learned. Participants also receive a 80-page coursebook containing all the notes and worked examples, providing an easy reference for the basics of performing SEM in MPlus, and as a reminder for the techniques learned.