as a noun is used in a range of applications, by as a general rule of thumb, a factor is anything which actively contributes towards or has a causal relationship with a phenomenon.

FACTOR: "There is a range of factors which all affect the success of an experiment, for example, the weather is factor in deciding on the location for a picnic."
Cite this page: Nugent, Pam M.S., "FACTOR," in PsychologyDictionary.org, May 11, 2013, https://psychologydictionary.org/factor/ (accessed January 16, 2019).