Basics : What are the different Data Types

There are only two broad types of Data : Qualititative  and  Quantitative.

Qualitative data types can be further sub categorized into the following :

Nominal : They are unordered collections of symbolic names without units. For instance, the names of the orbiters, such as Hubble, Magellan, Mariner, Viking and Voyager form a nominal data set. The name ‘Nominal’ comes from the Latin nomen, meaning ‘name’ and nominal data are items which are differentiated by a simple naming system.

Ordinal : Items on an ordinal scale are set into some kind of order by their position on the scale. This may indicate such as temporal position, superiority, etc. The order of items is often defined by assigning numbers to them to show their relative position. Letters or other sequential symbols may also be used as appropriate. For example, characters are ordinal because we can call ‘A’ the first character, ‘B’ the second, etc.

Quantitative data types These are usually described as numbers and can be sub-categorized as: 

Discrete data: Can take certain values ( like whole numbers). They have finite values, or buckets. You can count them. e.g. The number of questions taken in a survey would be discrete—there are a finite and countable number of questions.

Continuous data: Continuous data technically have an infinite number of steps, which form a continuum. e.g. Time to complete a task is continuous since it could take 178.8977687 seconds. 

Published: March 18 2013

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