Discrete data can only take certain values. It can (often) be counted.
is a type
of quantitative data
. It is described in numbers.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines discrete as "quantity composed of distinct units, as number, in contrast to continuous quantity or magnitude."
Real Examples of Discrete Data
A teacher collects the test scores of their class.
The test scores of the pupils are discrete data. Pupils can only get a whole number of marks. 5 marks or 8 marks make sense, but 51/8 marks does not make sense.
Different shapes have different numbers of sides.
The number of sides are discrete data. You can only have a whole number of sides. It doesn't make sense to have ½ a side.
More Real Examples of Discrete Data - Not Just Whole Numbers
From the examples above, we see that when we count a whole number of items, we get discrete data.
However, values do not need to be whole numbers to be discrete, as the following examples demonstrate.
A cake shop sells slices of cake. Each slice is an 1/8th of a cake. Customers can only buy multiples of 1/8ths of a cake.
Shoes come in different sizes. Shoe sizes usually come in whole numbers, but occasionally come in ½ sizes.
Other Types of Data
The types of data
are given below: