Informed Decision-Making in Exploratory Factor Analysis

Melissa Cater, Krisanna Machtmes


As the field of youth development grows, evaluation of program outcomes has become more embedded in the program process. It is incumbent on youth development professionals to understand more clearly the process of instrument development. One phase of the process involves taking a closer look at the data to determine if an instrument measures one overall construct or if items cluster together to reveal underlying constructs. Exploratory factor analysis is a technique used to determine the underlying constructs, or subgroups, of an instrument. While professionals may use a variety of decision-making steps, researchers have identified some commonly agreed upon considerations when conducting an exploratory factor analysis. This article seeks to make the decision-making steps of this process more transparent while also offering guidance to youth development professionals who may be seeking to use this procedure for the first time.

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Copyright (c) 2008 Journal of Youth Development

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