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Is it time to give up on PhD aspirations?

What about your research proposal? At least in the UK, you need to have a solid research proposal. And sometimes the proposal has more weight than a CV.

Issue with research method (or lack thereof)

What you do sounds like a systematic review, which is totally acceptable to do. Although make sure you follow some guidelines. Meta-analysis would imply that you run some statistical analysis while analysing your literature.


It's not really clear for me from the post what specifically you're struggling with. There are plenty of papers that provide overviews for both methods, just to name one:

Worthington and Whittaker (2009) Scale Development Research A Content Analysis and Recommendations for Best Practices

It's slightly outdated but the core principals are still the same. And because the paper focuses on the previously published papers that employed EFA and/or CFA you should get an idea what generally is reported when the analysis is carried out.