Factor analysis seeks to describe a collection of observed variables in terms of a smaller collection of (unobservable) latent variables, or factors. Factor analysis is also known as common factor analysis and exploratory factor analysis. These factors are defined as linear combinations of the observed variables. They are constructed to explain variation that is common to the observed variables. A primary goal of factor analysis is to achieve a meaningful interpretation of the observed variables through the factors. Another goal is to reduce the number of variables.