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Monte Carlo Experiments: Design and Implementation


Paxton, Pamela M.; Curran, Patrick J.; Bollen, Kenneth A.; Kirby, James B.; & Chen, Feinian (2001). Monte Carlo Experiments: Design and Implementation. Structural Equation Modeling, 8(2), 287-312.


The use of Monte Carlo simulations for the empirical assessment of statistical estimators is becoming more common in structural equation modeling research. Yet, there is little guidance for the researcher interested in using the technique. In this article we illustrate both the design and implementation of Monte Carlo simulations. We present 9 steps in planning and performing a Monte Carlo analysis: (1) developing a theoretically derived research question of interest, (2) creating a valid model, (3) designing specific experimental conditions, (4) choosing values of population parameters, (5) choosing an appropriate software package, (6) executing the simulations, (7) file storage, (8) troubleshooting and verification, and (9) summarizing results. Throughout the article, we use as a running example a Monte Carlo simulation that we performed to illustrate many of the relevant points with concrete information and detail.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Structural Equation Modeling


Paxton, Pamela M.
Curran, Patrick J.
Bollen, Kenneth A.
Kirby, James B.
Chen, Feinian

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