I have recently been performing confirmatory factor analysis to assess model fit for an established measure, the measure has previously been criticised for poor internal consistency in the relevant literature, but has yet to be administered for use in the UK.

I am looking to assess a 15-item measure to fit on to a one-factor structure. After eliminating poorly-fitting items (based on poor factor loadings and corrected-item total correlations), I have been have been left with two possible new models, a 9 or 8-item model.

The 9-item model shows better model fit; X2= 47.672, p = 0.002, CMIN/DF = 2.073, CFI = 0.949, TLI = 0.92, RMSEA = 0.067, PCLOSE= 0.142, however, the corresponding Chronbach’s is unacceptably low (α = 0.497).

Alternatively, the 8-item model presents slightly lower goodness of fit; X2 = 49.995, p ≥ 0.001, CMIN/DF = 3.125, CFI = 0.931, TLI = 0.87, RMSEA = 0.94, PCLOSE = 0.008, but with much higher internal consistency (α = 0.778).

My question is which model would be more appropriate to report in my results. I recognise that the problems I’ve had with finding appropriate model-fit seem to confirm the original measure to be poor. This is not an issue as it is going to represent a key critique of the surrounding literature in my discussion. However, I still want to report the best, most appropriate model I have been able to find, even if this is with the acknowledged caveat of either poor internal consistency or slightly lower model fit.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!