The Lesson

There are different types of data.

Qualitative and Quantitative Data

The main distinction is between qualitative (words) and quantitative (numbers) data.
  • Qualitative data is described in words. For example:
    • Names ("Steven", "Victoria", "Hema").
    • Colours ("Red", "Blue", "Yellow").
    • Gender ("Male", "Female").
  • Quantitative data is described in numbers. For example:
    • Ages (13, 31, 55).
    • Incomes (£25,000, $70,000, €45,750).
    • Lengths (155 cm, 6 feet, 15 inches).

Types of Quantitative Data: Discrete and Continuous

There are also two types of quantitative data: discrete and continuous data.
  • Discrete data can only take certain values, like whole numbers. Discrete data is counted. For example:
    • Ages (13, 31, 55).
    • Test scores (8, 10, 5).
    • Number of pets (0, 2, 4).
  • Continuous data can take any value (within a range). Continuous data is measured. For example:
    • Lengths (155 cm, 6 feet, 15 inches).
    • Times (5 seconds, 2¾ minutes, 1½ hours).
    • Lengths (155 cm, 6 feet, 15 inches).

Lesson Slides

The slider below gives more information about types of data.

What Is Data?

Data is a set of facts (such as numbers, measurements or words) that have been collected or measured. Data can be reported, visualized and analyzed to help us learn and make decisions.

Datum and Data

A single value is called a datum. For instance, a single test score would be a datum. When there are more than one value, it is data. Data is plural. The test scores of a class are data. Data also means the entire set of values, so it is still correct to say "the data is".

What's in a Name?

Data comes from the Latin word "datum", meaning a 'thing that is given'. It is the past form of 'dare', which means 'to give'. This is because when we collect facts, they are already given to us. A student's test score or a person's height are not something we create, they are already there. They can be counted or measured to be used as data.