Q:

# What is a qualitative variable?

A:

Qualitative variables are those with no natural or logical order. While scientists often assign a number to each, these numbers are not meaningful in any way.

## Keep Learning

Examples of qualitative variables include things such as color, shape or pattern. For instance, if scientists were studying a group of people, they may want to record the skin color of the subjects. However, the various skin colors are not numerically related to each other. Similarly, the scientists may wish to record the race of the people; however, the various races are not related to each other numerically. By contrast, quantitative variables do have a natural order. For example, height, weight or density are all quantitative measurements. While quantitative variables offer the ability to obtain more detailed analysis, they are not intrinsically superior to qualitative variables.

Qualitative variables are more common in some disciplines than others. Particle physicists, for instance, do not often work with qualitative variables. On the other hand, researchers in the fields of psychology, biology and sociology are often forced to use qualitative variables in their work. Sometimes, this has been used as justification for calling such disciplines “soft” or “descriptive” sciences, rather than “predictive” sciences, such as chemistry and physics.

Sources:

## Related Questions

• A: The adjusted r-square is a standardized indicator of r-square, adjusting for the number of predictor variables. This shows the standardized variance of the... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
• A: Normally distributed variables, such as the speed of different automobiles at one spot on the highway, form a bell curve with enough measurements. This bel... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
• A: The Rayleigh distribution is the distribution of the magnitude of a two-dimensional random vector whose coordinates are independent and identically distrib... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
• A: A standardized regression coefficient removes the original unit of measurement for variables in a regression equation. These coefficients are standardized ... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
PEOPLE SEARCH FOR