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ERIC Number: EJ997702
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 72
ISSN: ISSN-0027-3171
Choosing the Optimal Number of Factors in Exploratory Factor Analysis: A Model Selection Perspective
Preacher, Kristopher J.; Zhang, Guangjian; Kim, Cheongtag; Mels, Gerhard
Multivariate Behavioral Research, v48 n1 p28-56 2013
A central problem in the application of exploratory factor analysis is deciding how many factors to retain ("m"). Although this is inherently a model selection problem, a model selection perspective is rarely adopted for this task. We suggest that Cudeck and Henly's (1991) framework can be applied to guide the selection process. Researchers must first identify the analytic goal: identifying the (approximately) correct "m" or identifying the most replicable "m". Second, researchers must choose fit indices that are most congruent with their goal. Consistent with theory, a simulation study showed that different fit indices are best suited to different goals. Moreover, model selection with one goal in mind (e.g., identifying the approximately correct "m") will not necessarily lead to the same number of factors as model selection with the other goal in mind (e.g., identifying the most replicable "m"). We recommend that researchers more thoroughly consider what they mean by "the right number of factors" before they choose fit indices. (Contains 2 tables, 5 figures, and 5 footnotes.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado