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Exploratory factor analysis is a popular statistical technique used in communication research. Although exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and principal components analysis (PCA) are different techniques, PCA is often employed incorrectly to reveal latent constructs (i.e., factors) of observed variables, which is the purpose of EFA. PCA is more appropriate for reducing measured variables into a smaller set of variables (i.e., components) by keeping as much variance as possible out of the total variance in the measured variables. Furthermore, the popular use of varimax rotation raises some concerns about the relationships among the factors that researchers claim to discover. This paper discusses the distinct purposes of PCA and EFA, using two data sets as examples to highlight the differences in results between these procedures, and also reviews the use of each technique in three major communication journals: Communication Monographs, Human Communication Research, and Communication Research.