FACTOR: a computer program to fit the exploratory factor analysis model

Behav Res Methods. 2006 Feb;38(1):88-91. doi: 10.3758/bf03192753.


Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) is one of the most widely used statistical procedures in psychological research. It is a classic technique, but statistical research into EFA is still quite active, and various new developments and methods have been presented in recent years. The authors of the most popular statistical packages, however, do not seem very interested in incorporating these new advances. We present the program FACTOR, which was designed as a general, user-friendly program for computing EFA. It implements traditional procedures and indices and incorporates the benefits of some more recent developments. Two of the traditional procedures implemented are polychoric correlations and parallel analysis, the latter of which is considered to be one of the best methods for determining the number of factors or components to be retained. Good examples of the most recent developments implemented in our program are (1) minimum rank factor analysis, which is the only factor method that allows one to compute the proportion of variance explained by each factor, and (2) the simplimax rotation method, which has proved to be the most powerful rotation method available. Of these methods, only polychoric correlations are available in some commercial programs. A copy of the software, a demo, and a short manual can be obtained free of charge from the first author.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Behavioral Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical*
  • Humans
  • Software*