Rotation to a Partially Specified Target Matrix in Exploratory Factor Analysis: How Many Targets?

Nicholas D. Myers, Soyeon Ahn, Ying Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of the number of targets specified on the quality of exploratory factor analysis solutions with a complex underlying structure and incomplete substantive measurement theory. Three Monte Carlo studies were performed based on the ratio of the number of observed variables to the number of underlying factors. Within each study, communality, sample size, and the number of targets were manipulated. Outcomes included a measure of congruence and a measure of variability with regard to the rotated pattern matrix. The magnitude of the main effect for the influence of the number of targets on congruence and variability ranged from moderate to large. The magnitude of the interaction between the number of targets and level of communality ranged from small to moderate with regard to congruence and variability. Consistent with theoretical expectations, the minimum number of targets to specify to be reasonably assured of obtaining an accurate solution varied across study conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-147
Number of pages17
JournalStructural Equation Modeling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • communality
  • exploratory structural equation modeling
  • Monte Carlo
  • overdetermination
  • sample size
  • simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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