Comparing Dierent Approaches for Clustering Categorical Data Comparing Dierent Approaches for Clustering Categorical Data
There are different ways to do cluster analysis of categorical data in the literature and the choice among them is strongly related to the aim of the researcher, if we do not take into account time and economical constraints. Main approaches for clustering are usually distinguished into model-based and distance-based methods: the former assume that objects belonging to the same class are similar in the sense that their observed values come from the same probability distribution, whose
... are unknown and need to be estimated; the latter evaluate distances among objects by a defined dissimilarity measure and, basing on it, allocate units to the closest group. In clustering, one may be interested in the classification of similar objects into groups, and one may be interested in finding observations that come from the same true homogeneous distribution. But do both of these aims lead to the same clustering? And how good are clustering methods designed to fulfil one of these aims in terms of the other? In order to answer, two approaches, namely a latent class model (mixture of multinomial distributions) and a partition around medoids one, are evaluated and compared by Adjusted Rand Index, Average Silhouette Width and Pearson-Gamma indexes in a fairly wide simulation study. Simulation outcomes are plotted in bi-dimensional graphs via Multidimensional Scaling ; size of points is proportional to the number of points that overlap and different colours are used according to the cluster membership.