Thursday, January 1, 2015

WarpPLS 5.0 now available: Factor-based PLS-SEM algorithms, rotating 3D graphs, normality tests, missing data imputation methods, and more!

Dear colleagues:

Version 5.0 of WarpPLS is now available, as a beta version. You can download and install it for a free trial from:

The full User Manual is also available for download from the web site above separately from the software.

Some important notes for users of previous versions:

- There is no need to uninstall previous versions of WarpPLS to be able to install and use this new version.

- Users of previous versions can use the same license information that they already have; it will work for version 5.0 for the remainder of their license periods.

- Project files generated with previous versions are automatically converted to version 5.0 project files. Users are notified of that by the software, and given the opportunity not to convert the files if they so wish.

- The MATLAB Compiler Runtime 7.14, used in this version, is the same as the one used in versions 2.0-4.0. Therefore, if you already have one of those versions of WarpPLS installed on your computer, you should not reinstall the Runtime.

WarpPLS is a powerful PLS-based structural equation modeling (SEM) software. Since its first release in 2009, its user base has grown steadily, now comprising more than 7,000 users in over 33 countries.

Some of its most distinguishing features are the following:

- Very easy to use, with a step-by-step user interface guide.

- Implements classic (composite-based) as well as factor-based PLS algorithms.

- Identifies nonlinear relationships, and estimates path coefficients accordingly.

- Also models linear relationships, using classic and factor-based PLS algorithms.

- Models reflective and formative variables, as well as moderating effects.

- Calculates P values, model fit and quality indices, and full collinearity coefficients.

- Calculates indirect effects for paths with 2, 3 etc. segments; as well as total effects.

- Calculates several causality assessment coefficients.

- Provides a number of graphs, including zoomed 2D graphs, and 3D graphs.

At the beginning of the User Manual you will see a list of new features in this version, some of which are listed below together with related YouTube videos. The User Manual has more details on how these new features can be useful in SEM analyses.

- There has been a long and in some instances fairly antagonistic debate among proponents and detractors of the use of Wold’s original PLS algorithms in the context of SEM. This debate has been fueled by one key issue: Wold’s original PLS algorithms do not deal with actual factors, as covariance-based SEM algorithms do; but with composites, which are exact linear combinations of indicators. The new factor-based algorithms provided in this version have been developed specifically to address this perceived limitation of Wold’s original PLS algorithms.

Related YouTube video:
Conduct a Factor-Based PLS-SEM Analysis with WarpPLS

- An extended set of descriptive statistics is now provided for both indicators and latent variables. The descriptive statistics provided include: minimum and maximum values, medians, modes, skewness and excess kurtosis coefficients, as well as results of unimodality and normality tests. These are now complemented by histograms, which can be viewed on the screen and saved as files.

- Often the use of PLS-based SEM methods is justified based on them making no data normality assumptions, but typically without any accompanying test of normality! This is addressed in this version through various outputs of unimodality and normality tests, which are now provided for all indicators and latent variables.

Related YouTube video:
View Skewness and Kurtosis in WarpPLS

- Rocky and smooth 3D graphs can now be viewed with data points excluded. Corresponding graphs with data points included are also available. The 3D graph displays with data points excluded are analogous to those used in the focused 2D graphs. Additionally, users can now incrementally rotate 3D graphs in the following directions: up, down, left, and right.

Related YouTube video:
View Moderating Effects via 3D and 2D Graphs in WarpPLS

- An extended set of “stable” P value calculation methods is now available to users: Stable1, Stable2, and Stable3. The Stable1 method was the software’s default up until version 4.0, when it was called simply the “stable” method. The Stable2 and Stable3 methods have been developed as alternatives to the Stable1 method that rely on the direct application of exponential smoothing formulas, and that can thus be more easily implemented and tested by methodological researchers.

- Several missing data imputation methods are now available to users: Arithmetic Mean Imputation (the software’s default), Multiple Regression Imputation, Hierarchical Regression Imputation, Stochastic Multiple Regression Imputation, and Stochastic Hierarchical Regression Imputation. Extensive simulations suggest that these methods perform fairly well in the context of PLS-based SEM (including Arithmetic Mean Imputation), even with as much as 30 percent of data missing.

Related YouTube video:
View and Change Missing Data Imputation Settings in WarpPLS