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4 Types of Data: Nominal, Ordinal, Discrete, Continuous

Posted in Programming   LAST UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 27, 2022

    4 types of data: qualitative and quantitative

    Introduction: Why data is Important?

    Data has become a day-to-day life need. Everything you see is data, you are reading this blog post is data too. We use data whether you are a data scientist or a Business owner or data analyst or you are in any other profession.

    You need to use and experiment with the data. The whole world uses data, every day more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced and it is very important to handle and store it properly without any errors.

    In order to manage the data, the type of data plays an important role. The category of data helps to determine which strategy would work to get the right results.

    There are 2 Types of Data:

    • Qualitative Data Type

    • Quantitative Data Type

    Let's look at each of these and What are Qualitative and Quantitative Data.

    1). Qualitative Data Type

    Qualitative data is also called Categorial data. It is data that can't be measured or counted in numbers. That's why it is divided into categories and is called Categorial data. This type of data consists of audio, images, symbols, or text.

    Take the gender of a person as an example, we can't count it in numbers but we can categorize it in its categories male, female, or others. It is qualitative data.

    This type of data helps researchers to understand the desires of the customers and then they can design or strategize campaigns accordingly.

    There are 2 subtypes of Qualitative data:

    • Nominal data
    • Ordinal data

    Nominal data

    There is a type of data that can't be sorted in order. Let's say if you have 2 T-shirts, one has a Blue color and the other has a Yellow color. Now, you can't compare the colors to each other like Blue is greater than yellow.

    We can't do any numerical tasks with Nominal data as it doesn't have any order. The name "Nominal" comes from a Latin word called "nomen" which means "name". The data is distributed into categories and nominal data can't be counted into numbers.

    Examples of Nominal Data:

    • Marital status (Single, Widowed, Married)
    • Nationality (Indian, German, American)
    • Gender (Male, Female, Others)

    Ordinal Data

    Unlike Nominal data, Ordinal data has order because a number is present in order by its position. Considering you have to buy clothes online, you can easily sort them according to their name such as small, medium, and large. You know "large" size is bigger than other sizes.

    Similarly, In the grading system if you got an A+ and your friend got B. We know A+ is greater than a B grade. This data is also considered Ordinal data.

    Ordinal data is considered as "in-between" qualitative and quantitative data. It has some kind of order than Nominal data doesn't.

    Example of Ordinal data:

    • Letter grades in the exam (A, B, C, D, etc.)
    • Ranking of people in a competition (First, Second, Third, etc.)
    • Education Level (Higher, Secondary, Primary)

    2). Quantitative Data Type

    Quantitative data have numerical values that's why it's countable and suitable for statistical data analysis. This data answers questions like "how much" and "how many".

    The price of a phone, the ram of that mobile, number of ratings of a product are examples of Quantitative data.

    This type of data can be used in statistical manipulation and can be represented as bar graphs, histograms, line graphs, etc.

    There are 2 subtypes of Quantitative data:

    • Discrete data
    • Continuous data

    Discrete Data

    Discrete data has integers or whole numbers such as the number of speakers in a mobile, the number of cores in the processor, etc.

    This data can be represented as a decimal number but it has to be whole. It cannot be measured in statistics as it has a fixed value. Discrete data can be represented by bar graphs, number lines, pie charts, and tally charts.

    Examples of Discrete Data:

    • Price of a cell phone
    • Numbers of employees in a company
    • Days in a month

    Continuous data

    Continuous data have fractional values. The version of Android, wifi frequency, length of an object, etc are examples of continuous data.

    Unline discrete data type that holds integers or whole values, continuous data type have fractional numbers. The temperature or height of a person falls under continuous data. it can be represented as a graph that easily reflects value fluctuation.

    Examples of continuous data:

    • Height of a person
    • Speed of a vehicle
    • Wi-Fi Frequency
    • Market share price


    In this article, we learned about how data is important and the different types of data. There are 2 types of data like qualitative and quantitative data.

    We discussed which type can be represented as which graphs and how can you manipulate statistics.

    Related Questions

    1). What are 3 examples of Discrete Data?

    1. The number of people in a class
    2. Test questions answered correctly
    3. Home runs hit

    2). Is age discrete or continuous?

    Age is Continuous.

    3). What is a Nominal data example?

    1. Marital status (Single, Widowed, Married)
    2. Nationality (Indian, German, American)
    3. Gender (Male, Female, Others)

    4). Is ordinal data continuous?

    Yes, Ordinal data is continuos

    Published by: avdhoottt