Confirmatory Factor Analysis

Confirmatory Factor Analysis is a special class of the factor analysis technique. It is mostly used in the field of social science research. Confirmatory Factor Analysis or CFA, as it is popularly known as, is a confirmatory approach. In other words, this technique is used to confirm if there is consistency between the measures of a construct and the researcher’s understanding about the construct. In general, we can say that the confirmatory factor analysis is used to test if the data fits the hypothesized proposed model, which is derived from the theory.

The fist step in a Confirmatory Factor Analysis is to develop a theoretical model. This model shows the relationship between the theoretically proposed factors and the observed measures. Once this is done, the next step is to assess how well the data fits the proposed model. If the data is consistent with the proposed model, the model fit will indicate a good fit, and we will accept the model.

There can be a number of reasons for poor fit. For example, the poor fit may be due to some items measuring multiple factors, or it may be that some items in a factor associate more with each other compared to other items. Confirmatory Factor Analysis, is a complex statistical analysis technique and it requires full attention by the researcher.

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