(Redirected from ordinal variable)
- See: Ordinal Function, Rank Variable, Rank Function.
- 1. (statistics) A variable with values whose order is significant.
- QUOTE: An ordinal variable is similar to a categorical variable. The difference between the two is that there is a clear ordering of the variables. For example, suppose you have a variable, economic status, with three categories (low, medium and high). In addition to being able to classify people into these three categories, you can order the categories as low, medium and high. Now consider a variable like educational experience (with values such as elementary school graduate, high school graduate, some college and college graduate). These also can be ordered as elementary school, high school, some college, and college graduate. Even though we can order these from lowest to highest, the spacing between the values may not be the same across the levels of the variables. Say we assign scores 1, 2, 3 and 4 to these four levels of educational experience and we compare the difference in education between categories one and two with the difference in educational experience between categories two and three, or the difference between categories three and four. The difference between categories one and two (elementary and high school) is probably much bigger than the difference between categories two and three (high school and some college). In this example, we can order the people in level of educational experience but the size of the difference between categories is inconsistent (because the spacing between categories one and two is bigger than categories two and three). If these categories were equally spaced, then the variable would be an interval variable.