Exploratory Factor Analysis

Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) is a set of statistical procedures used to determine the number and nature of constructs required to account for the pattern of correlations among a set of measures. EFA is used when there is little theoretical and/or empirical basis to generate specific predictions regarding the underlying structure of correlations among the measures. This entry further describes EFA and its purpose and then discusses how to conduct an EFA.

EFA is generally conducted for purposes of theory development (i.e., identifying fundamental constructs in a domain of interest) or measure development (i.e., determining specific measures that effectively represent constructs). For example, a researcher might be presented with several academic tests (e.g., verbal reasoning, vocabulary, numerical reasoning, and arithmetic skills) and unsure of the academic ...

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