Data considerations for Factor Analysis

To ensure that your results are valid, consider the following guidelines when you collect data, perform the analysis, and interpret your results.

You should have at least two variables
Measurements for each variable should be recorded in separate numeric columns. Alternately, you can enter a stored correlation matrix or a stored covariance matrix, as well as stored factor loadings from a previous analysis.
You should have at least three variables for each underlying factor
Generally, you should not have more than one factor for every 3 variables in your data. For example, if you have 12 variables, you should extract, at most, 4 factors.
Groups of variables should be highly correlated
For the analysis results to be useful, groups of variables should be highly correlated, with small correlations among variables from different groups.
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