[R] Factor Analysis?

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Wed Feb 2 16:44:19 CET 2000

> Date: Wed, 02 Feb 2000 16:28:40 +0100
> From: Maria Wolters <wolters at ikp.uni-bonn.de>
> 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. 

That may not be our aim.  (By the way, there is an `alternative' to
SPSS out there, called PSPP at last count (it did have another name,
I think).)  Things get into R because we (the R community and especially
R core) want them for teaching, research, intellectual curiosity, ...
or even because we feel that other people need/want them.  I would like
to see factor analysis in R, but it comes below time series and a
usable Windows version in what I have wanted.

> 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 ... ;)

I went to a research conference in linguistics and music to talk
about pattern recognition a year or so ago....

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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