Using exploratory factor analysis for items: Specific issues and recommendations

Paul Sârbescu


In Romania, the use of exploratory factor analysis (EFA) in the development or cultural adaptation of psychological tests is a phenomenon that gained a very large ampleness in recent years. Many of the recommendations that apply when using EFA for variables will lead to erroneous results if EFA is used for items. The purpose of this article is to provide relevant information about issues to be taken into account when EFA is used for items. Basically, this article presents a series of recommendations about decisions on determining the need to implement EFA, the sample used, choosing a factor extraction method, selecting the optimal number of factors, factor rotation and identifying false factors. Finally, a synthesis of recommendations made throughout the article is presented, along with the main techniques for forming item parcels and a guide for conducting a parallel analysis using SPSS syntax


exploratory factor analysis; item parcels; parallel analysis


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