ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

›› 2003, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (5): 579-585.

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Exploratory Factor Analysis: A Literature Review Between 1991 and 2000

Fan Jinyan,Ye Bi,Zhang Zhenyu,Liu Baoxia   

  1. Department of Psychology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
  • Received:2002-09-02 Revised:1900-01-01 Online:2003-09-15 Published:2003-09-15
  • Contact: Fan Jinyan

Abstract: The purposes of this article was to: 1) clarify some confusing issues in exploratory factor analysis (EFA) among Chinese psychologists, and 2) critically review how Chinese psychologists have been applying EFA in their research during the last decade (1991~2000). In the first part of this article, the following issues were discussed: (a) estimating the number of common factors, (b) the rotation problem, and (c) the myth of simple structure. The authors searched Psychological Science and Acta Psychologica Sinica between 1991~2000 and identified 95 EFAs from feature articles that used EFA as their major quantitative method. All the identified EFAs are coded on the following characteristics: (a) scale reliability, (b) ratio of item number to factor number, (c) ratio of sample to item number, (d) sample size, (e) methods to determine number of factors, (f) rotation method, (g) software, and (h) report practice. Simple statistics such as, frequency and percentage, revealed the major problems many Chinese psychologists have in employing EFA include: (a) exclusive reliance on some mechanical methods to determine factor numbers, (b) using orthogonal rotation without justification, (c) overuse of SPSS, and (d) failure to report major information and results so that peer-evaluation is essentially impossible. The possible reasons for the current situation are discussed

Key words: exploratory factor analysis, review, factor number, and factor rotation

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