Confirmatory Factor Analysis


For many decades, factor analysis has been a key analysis procedure in several disciplines. Its main task is to conclude from a number of observed manifestations on their unobserved latent causes (factors or dimensions). To this purpose, some technical approaches have been developed which can fundamentally be divided into exploratory and confirmatory approaches. Exploratory factor analysis tries to explore the hidden structure and reduce the dimensionality of measurements, whereas confirmatory factor analysis allows to test a theoretical model with given measurement hypotheses. Confirmatory factor analysis can be seen as a special case of structural equation modeling. This entry presents a short overview over the concept and history of confirmatory factor analysis and explains the basic mathematical fundamentals. Then, it shows options to decide about the model fit and discusses multiple group comparisons. A short presentation of the advantages of confirmatory factor analysis is given with an empirical example. This entry finishes with an outlook on special types of factor models.

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