Qualitative variable

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Qualitative variable
  • A variable for which values or measurements represent groups.
  • Measured on a nominal or ordinal scale.
  • A variable that is not qualitative is known as quantitative.
  • Also known as a categorical variable.


The following are examples of qualitative variables:

  • Gender (male, female)
  • Eye color (brown, blue, green, hazel)
  • Online workshop participants' country of origin

Note that a qualitative variable may be coded to appear numeric but these numbers are meaningless, as in male=1, female=2.

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Web Resources

  • Statistics Online Computational Resource - Types of Data
  • Online Statistics: An Interactive Multimedia Course of Study, Chapter: 1. Introduction, Section: Variables


Portions of this entry were adapted from