Construct Explication through Factor or Component Analysis: A Review and Evaluation of Alternative Procedures for Determining the Number of Factors or Components

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Abstract

The concept of a construct is central to many of the advances in the behavioral sciences during the second half of this century. Constructs serve to summarize, organize, and facilitate the interpretation of data. The concept of a construct also permits us to move directly from data analysis to theory development and testing. Factor analysis and component analysis are two very similar methods that facilitate the transition from dealing with a large number of observed variables to a smaller number of constructed or latent variables. Douglas Jackson employed factor or component analysis as an integral part of his sequential approach to the development of psychological measures (Jackson, 1970, 1971). It has become a standard part of measure development and is one of the most employed statistical procedures in the behavioral sciences.