Scree plots are ubiquitous in applications of exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and principal component analysis (PCA); they are used to visualize the relative importance of different factors/components and display the results of selection procedures (e.g., parallel analysis). Because the eigenvalues shown in the scree plot indicate the amounts of variance accounted for by the corresponding factors/components, they tend to give a distorted picture of the relative importance of the factors/components with respect to the original units of the variables. Specifically, variances inflate the apparent relative importance of large effects and deflate that of small effects; as a result, traditional scree plots exaggerate the differences between larger and smaller factors/components, and flatten the visual representation of the smaller ones. In this brief note, I propose a simple solution in the form of square-root scree plots, i.e., scree plots based on the square root of the eigenvalues. Square-root scree plots provide a balanced display of the relative importance of the factors/components, and a more legible representation of the smaller ones. They are a useful addition to the toolkit of EFA and PCA, and may be preferable as a default option in most common applications.

The Square-Root Scree Plot: A Simple Improvement to a Classic Display

Del Giudice, Marco
2022-01-01

Abstract

Scree plots are ubiquitous in applications of exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and principal component analysis (PCA); they are used to visualize the relative importance of different factors/components and display the results of selection procedures (e.g., parallel analysis). Because the eigenvalues shown in the scree plot indicate the amounts of variance accounted for by the corresponding factors/components, they tend to give a distorted picture of the relative importance of the factors/components with respect to the original units of the variables. Specifically, variances inflate the apparent relative importance of large effects and deflate that of small effects; as a result, traditional scree plots exaggerate the differences between larger and smaller factors/components, and flatten the visual representation of the smaller ones. In this brief note, I propose a simple solution in the form of square-root scree plots, i.e., scree plots based on the square root of the eigenvalues. Square-root scree plots provide a balanced display of the relative importance of the factors/components, and a more legible representation of the smaller ones. They are a useful addition to the toolkit of EFA and PCA, and may be preferable as a default option in most common applications.
2022
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https://openpsych.net/paper/69/
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3066305
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