I'm working on my dissertation, and am evaluating the internal structure of a 34-item scale. The model in which the scale is based off of is hierarchical, and is structured/ordered as such: (1st) items, (2nd) item-groups, & (3rd) sub-scales. To evaluate this information I would use a structural equation modeling approach to confirmatory factor analysis.

I was debating on whether or not it would be better to construct two standard CFA models or one second-order/higher-order CFA model. In creating two CFA models, I would first include the scale items as the "measured variables" and the item-groups as the "latent variables." If there is adequate fit, I would then proceed to create the second model in which the item groups are the "measured variables" and the sub-scales are the "latent variables." Lastly, if I was to create a second-order CFA model, I would include (1st) items, (2nd) item-groups, and (3rd) sub-scales.

I would appreciate any insight, suggestions, or tips on what method is most appropriate for my goal.

Thank you all, very much!

-J