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Data 101: Qualitative

In this LibGuide, we introduce you to the wide world of data, including data types (qualitative, quantitative, ethnographic, geospatial, etc.), finding data, visualizing data, and managing data.

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Emily Bongiovanni

Nominal and Ordinal Data

Qualitative data can be categorized as nominal or ordinal. 

Nominal data refers to data whose labels have no quantitative value, and can be in any order, such as a list of languages spoken, a list of country names, or a list of eye colors. It cannot be ordered, and it cannot be measured.


Ordinal data refers to ordered units of data, where numbers may be used to delineate the order in which they appear. For example, the following list is an example of ordinal data: 

1 = Elementary

2 = Middle School

3 = High School

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Credits and Acknowledgements

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