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Hierarchical Cluster Analysis: Comparison of Three Linkage Measures and Application to Psychological Data

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Doi: 10.20982/tqmp.11.1.p008

Yim, Odilia , Ramdeen, Kylee T.
Keywords: Cluster analysis , Hierarchical cluster analysis , Agglomerative linkage
Tools: SPSS
(no sample data)   (no appendix)

Cluster analysis refers to a class of data reduction methods used for sorting cases, observations, or variables of a given dataset into homogeneous groups that differ from each other. The present paper focuses on hierarchical agglomerative cluster analysis, a statistical technique where groups are sequentially created by systematically merging similar clusters together, as dictated by the distance and linkage measures chosen by the researcher. Specific distance and linkage measures are reviewed, including a discussion of how these choices can influence the clustering process by comparing three common linkage measures (single linkage, complete linkage, average linkage). The tutorial guides researchers in performing a hierarchical cluster analysis using the SPSS statistical software. Through an example, we demonstrate how cluster analysis can be used to detect meaningful subgroups in a sample of bilinguals by examining various language variables.

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