There are basically two types of variable that are used in the measurement level or in
measuring the values of variables that are defined as:
(a) Continuous variable
(b) Discrete Variable
Continuous variables sometimes called as quantitative variable and discrete variables known
as qualitative variable.
When we talk about the continuous variable it defines all the values that will be used in
measuring variables and can take any value.
But in case of discrete variable it cannot take all values that are in the limits of the variable or
sometimes it is known as the variable that have only finite number of values from the given
We understand the difference between continuous and discrete variable by some example as
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if there is a set of five numbers that are 1 ,2 ,3 ,4 and 5 then discrete variable can only take
the value among these five numbers means a variable that has the value 1.4 is not considered
as discrete variable this is known as the continuous variable or if we take some other
examples as if measuring the height of persons is not defined by discrete variables because it
can have several infinite number of values for different persons so it is defined by the
continuous variable .
The discrete variables that are also known as qualitative variables are divided into following
categories as :
(1) Nominal discrete variable.
(2) Ordinal discrete variable.
(3) Preference discrete variable.
(4) Multiple response discrete variables.
(1) Nominal discrete variable: These types of variables are only used for qualitative
classification means when values will be measured for items or things that belong to certain
distinct categories. These values will never quantified or not have the ranks.
These nominal variables are not specific to any variable means they are assigned in arbitrary
order. These nominal variable never perform the arithmetic operations like addition,
subtraction or * or / etc .They never perform logical operations like ‘>’ or ‘<’ or ‘+’ etc.
Example: Gender - > 1. Female,
(2) Ordinal discrete variable: These are also the nominal variables but having the specific
order or sequence of different states of variables.
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In these variables arithmetic operations are never performed but logical operations are
performed. Ordinal variables are useful for the subjective assessment of the quality. In the
social and behavioral research these variables are very useful.
Example: If we categorize the variables that is the time involvement ordinal variable having
the five states
1 = nil,
2 = low,
3 = medium,
4 = great,
(3) Preference discrete variable: These variables are defined as the values that are presented
in either increasing or decreasing order as if there is a survey in which respondent asked the
questions about the nine sources and about their importance and given the specific number to
most and least important resource.
(4) Multiple response discrete variable: These are special types of discrete variable that can
imagine more than one values .If we take an example as an questionnaire that is about the
research that have used computers.
So when in the questionnaire respondent answer the questions for computers in research
then it have multiple research area in which it is used so there are more than one category to
define it then use the Preference discrete variable.
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