In statistics, a full factorial experiment is an experiment whose design consists of two or more factors, each with discrete possible values or “levels”, and whose experimental units take on all possible combinations of these levels across all such factors. A full factorial design may also be called a fully crossed design. Such an experiment allows the investigator to study the effect of each factor on the response variable, as well as the effects of interactions between factors on the response variable. In summary, a full factorial experiment is an experiment that examines the effect of all possible combinations of factors and levels.
For the vast majority of factorial experiments, each factor has only two levels. For example, with two factors each taking two levels, a factorial experiment would have four treatment combinations in total, and is usually called a 2×2 factorial design.
If the number of combinations in a full factorial design is too high to be logistically feasible, a fractional factorial design may be done, in which some of the possible combinations (usually at least half) are omitted.