Glossary of Statistical Terms: Definition Nominal scale

Nominal scales correspond to the lowest level of measurement and are used to represent and classify qualitative characteristics of attributes.

Examples include variables such as gender or nationality. Within nominal scales, we can only count different variables and depict their frequency. The only available location parameter is the mode. Neither can a median be identified, nor can we calculate an arithmetic mean.

Qualitative questions which can be divided into ranks (e.g. better/worse, bigger/smaller) are accounted for among the ordinal scales

Please note that the definitions in our statistics encyclopedia are simplified explanations of terms. Our goal is to make the definitions accessible for a broad audience; thus it is possible that some definitions do not adhere entirely to scientific standards.

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