In an increasingly data-driven world, it is more important than ever for students as well as professionals to better understand basic statistical concepts. 100 Questions (and Answers) About Statistics addresses the essential questions that students ask about statistics in a concise and accessible way. It is perfect for instructors, students, and practitioners as a supplement to more comprehensive materials, or as a desk reference with quick answers to the most frequently asked questions.

# What Is Factor Analysis, and How Is It Used?

### What Is Factor Analysis, and How Is It Used?

Factor analysis is a technique based on how items that are related to one another form clusters or factors. Each factor represents several different variables, and it turns out that factors are more efficient than individual variables at representing outcomes in certain studies. In using this technique, the goal is to represent those variables that are related to one another with a more general name. And assigning names to these groups of variables called factors is not a willy-nilly process—the names reflect the content and the ideas underlying how the variables might be related.

For example, David Wolfe and his colleagues at the University of Western Ontario attempted to understand how experiences of maltreatment occurring before ...