Ordinal Variable

An Ordinal Variable is one measured in categories on an ordinal scale, meaning that the order or rank of the categories is important. For example, a researcher asks respondents to choose one of the following to rate their job satisfaction:

(1) not at all satisfied;
(2) slightly satisfied;
(3) mostly satisfied; or
(4) completely satisfied.

The numbers on this scale are arbitrary and are only used to show order. In another example, if you review a restaurant and assign it a rating from 1 to 5 stars, you’re expressing that rating as an ordinal variable. Four stars is better than 2 stars but not necessarily twice as good as 2 stars.

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