Initiated by the late Louis E. Guttman, Facet Theory (FT) has been developed as a comprehensive research strategy for the social and behavioral sciences. FT integrates formal design of empirical observations, with intrinsic data analysis procedures, such as the Guttman Scale, Multiple Scaling by Partial-Order Scalogram Analysis, Smallest Space Analysis and Multidimensional Scaling, for the discovery of lawfulness and scientific measurement in complex systems.
For complex behavioral systems, characterized by multitudes of interacting variables, FT offers unique procedures to meet major challenges of behavioral research, such as how to sample a balanced set of observational variables from a content universe under comprising innumerable variables; and how to infer the structure of the content universe from multivariate but finite empirical data.
Facet theory has been successfully applied in a large number of disciplines such as psychology, education, sociology, political science, criminology, social work, business administration and the life sciences. It has contributed to theory construction and measurement in research domains such as marketing, information systems, the study of values, quality of life research, mental abilities—intelligence and creativity research, distributive justice and many more. Discoveries in areas of application have, in turn, contributed to FT as a meta-theory for behavioral cumulative science.
Louis E. Guttman
Louis Guttman (1916-1987) was one of the most influential psychometricians of the 20th century and a promoter of formalization in the social and psychological sciences. Guttman contributed to Scaling theory (including “Guttman Scale”), factor analysis, reliability theory, methodology & theory construction in the social and psychological research (“Facet Theory”).
Louis Guttman was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 10, 1916, and grew up in Minneapolis Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology in 1942 from the University of Minnesota with a thesis on the algebra of Factor Analysis. With his academic base at Cornell University at Ithaca, New York, Guttman served during World War II as an expert consultant at the Research Branch of the Information and Education Division of the War Department, where he developed the scale bearing his name .
In 1947 he immigrated to Israel where he founded and directed The Israel Institute of Applied Social Research (later: The Guttman Institute of Applied Social Research). From 1955 he served also as Professor of Social and Psychological Assessment at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, until his death in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on October 25, 1987. Guttman published in numerous journals and books of sociology, psychology and statistics covering half a century from 1938, both as a sole author and in collaboration with others. Many of his earlier papers are still quoted as relevant to current statistical and mathematical advances. The development of scaling theory by Louis Guttman and Clyde Coombs is one of 62 “major advances in social science” for the period 1900 – 1965, identified and analyzed in Science.