Factor Analysis: A Short Introduction, Part 3-The Difference Between Confirmatory and Exploratory Factor Analysis

November 2nd, 2012 by

by Maike Rahn, PhD

An important question that the consultants at The Analysis Factor are frequently asked is:

What is the difference between a confirmatory and an exploratory factor analysis?

A confirmatory factor analysis assumes that you enter the factor analysis with a firm idea about the number of factors you will encounter, and about which variables will most likely load onto each factor.

Your expectations are usually based on published findings of a factor analysis.

An example is a fatigue scale that has previously been validated. You would like to make sure that the variables in your sample load onto the factors the same way they did in the original research.

In other words, you have very clear expectations about what you will find in your own sample. This means that (more…)