Bottom-up approach

The framework presented above emerges from a top-down, deductive, approach. Based on the latest theories of well-being, which in turn are based on empirical evidence, we posited a structure for what well-being looks like.

Another, very different, approach is the bottom-up, inductive one. Such an approach avoids reference to theory and attempts to allow the data to determine a structure. The most popular methodology for doing this is factor analysis.1 Having assumed a multi-dimensional structure of well-being, we might hope that such analyses would identify distinct factors within the ESS data. Questions on social life should intercorrelate more with each other than they do with questions on, for example, feelings of autonomy. Do exercise 3 now to see whether that’s the case.

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