Different Types of Variable at a Glance

Laboni Chakraborty Sept 25 2020 · 1 min read
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What is Variable?

A variable is a characteristic of a unit being observed that may assume more than one of a set of values to which a numerical measure or a category from a classification can be assigned (e.g. income, age, weight, etc., and “occupation”, “industry”, “disease”, etc).

Types of variable

Before analysing dataset, we should be familiar with different types of variable.

A)  Categorical Variable: A categorical variable is one that has two por more categories but   there is no intrinsic ordering to the categories. Categorical variables are also known as qualitative or discrete variables. Categorical variables are further classified as nominal and ordinal variables.

i)                   Binary Variable: A simple version of a categorical variable is called a binary variable. This type of variable lists two distinct, mutually exclusive choices. True or False, Yes or No are examples of binary variables.

ii)                 Nominal Variable: A categorical variable that has more than two categories to select from is called a nominal variable. Political party, eye colours are the example of nominal variable.

iii)              Ordinal Variable: Another version of a categorical variable is an ordinal variable is an ordinal variable, which has categories that can be put in a logical order. Examples of ordinal variables are: Socio economic status (low income group, middle income group, high income group), Education level (High School Level, BS, MS, PhD)

B)   Continuous Variable: A continuous variable can take an any score or value within a measurement scale. In addition, the difference between each of the values has a real meaning. Continuous variables are also known as qualitative or numerical variables. There are two types of continuous variables., Interval and Ratio variables.

i)                   Interval Variable: The first type of continuous variable is the interval variable, a variable that can be ordered with a distance or level between each category is meaningful. Examples of interval variable is temperature.

ii)                 Ratio Variable: Another type of continuous variable is ratio variable, which has one difference from an interval variable the ratio between the scores provide information about the relationship between responses.

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