Discrete and Continuous Data

Discrete data is counted whereas continuous data is measured.

Discrete Data

Discrete data can only take certain values. Often discrete data is non-numeric such as:

  • Eye colour
  • Country names
  • Favourite food

However there are also examples of discrete data which are numeric.

There are 28 children in the class.

You can’t have half a child.

There are 5 Welsh universities in the top 100 universities in the UK.

Source: The Complete University Guide.

An institution either is, or isn’t a university, and you can’t have half a university.

Shoe sizes are also an example of numeric discrete data.

Continuous Data

Continuous data is measured and can take any value (within a range). Examples are:

  • a person’s height;
  • the weight of a lorry;
  • the temperature of a scientific solution;
  • time in a race.

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