## The Lesson

Discrete data can only take certain values. It can (often) be counted. Discrete data is a type of quantitative data. It is described in numbers.

## Dictionary Definition

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: