[R] Factor Analysis?

Maria Wolters wolters at ikp.uni-bonn.de
Wed Feb 2 16:28:40 CET 2000

Brian Ripley wrote:

> My feeling is that there are plenty of packages that do factor analysis,
> and not much demand for it in R.  Anyone want to write a factor analysis
> package for R?

Well, IM very HO, the problem is that factor analysis is frequently used in the social
sciences, and social science people tend to prefer more GUI-orineted
packages such as SPSS or Systat. Therefore, demands have been low.
I believe that if R is to be a true alternative to mainstream stats 
packages, it should include this functionality. While we're at it,
a package dedicated to the analysis of survey results would also be great.
(I'm sure that R already contains most of the required functionality, but 
having it in a separate package would greatly speed up finding it. And no,
I don't have access to Matlab or Mathematica. And yes, most mainstream stats
books for the social sciences do cover only PCA as a factor analysis method.)

Judging from the contributions to the list, R seems to be quite popular in the 
statistics / applied statistics (biostatistics) community. I think
it's time for other communities to join in the effort and contribute packages.
Sociology, psychology, media studies, anyone? Linguistics? 
(will the physicist in the back row please stop laughing ... ;)

Since I'm a shoddy programmer myself, and have no prior experience with S
or S-Plus, I'm probably not the right person to write new packages. But I
would definitely be interested in collaborating on writing them, and sharing 
any of the truly embarrassing code I've come up with so far. Michael,
would you be interested in joining in? 

Maria Wolters
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