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Evaluating The Use Of Exploratory Factor Analysis In Psychological Research.

L. Fabrigar, D. Wegener, R. MacCallum, E. Strahan
Published 1999 · Psychology

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Despite the widespread use of exploratory factor analysis in psychological research, researchers often make questionable decisions when conducting these analyses. This article reviews the major design and analytical decisions that must be made when conducting a factor analysis and notes that each of these decisions has important consequences for the obtained results. Recommendations that have been made in the methodological literature are discussed. Analyses of 3 existing empirical data sets are used to illustrate how questionable decisions in conducting factor analyses can yield problematic results. The article presents a survey of 2 prominent journals that suggests that researchers routinely conduct analyses using such questionable methods. The implications of these practices for psychological research are discussed, and the reasons for current practices are reviewed.
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