Continuous Data Set: Definition & Examples

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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karin Gonzalez

Karin has taught middle and high school Health and has a master's degree in social work.

In this lesson, you'll learn the definition of a continuous data set. We'll look at some examples so that you'll gain a better understanding of this concept. In the end, you can test your knowledge with a quiz.


Before we get into continuous data sets, let's take a quick look at the basic definition of a data set. A data set is a grouping of information that's related to each other. A data set can be either qualitative or quantitative. A qualitative data set would consist of words that can be observed, not measured. A quantitative data set would consist of numbers that can be directly measured. Months in a year would be an example of qualitative, while weights of dogs in the neighborhood would be an example of quantitative.

Qualitative and Quantitative Examples.

A continuous data set is a quantitative data set representing a scale of measurement that can consist of numbers other than whole numbers, like decimals and fractions. Continuous data sets would consist of values like height, weight, length, temperature, and other measurements like that. They're things that can be measured in fractions and decimals. Usually a tool, like a ruler, measuring tape, scale, or thermometer, is required to produce the values in a continuous data set.


For our first example, let's look at Timothy and Moira, two students in a high school.

Timothy: How tall are all of the students in your class?

Moira: Well, I can't tell you everyone's height right now, but I know that I am 5.1 feet, Bryan is 5.3 feet, and Angel is 5.2 feet.

Do you see how the data set of heights {5.1, 5.3, 5.2} have decimals? Height isn't an absolute, discrete measurement; therefore, it's continuous, and the heights of the students in Moira's class would be considered a continuous data set.

For our second example let's say that Timothy has to create data sets of information regarding his school. He needs to:

  1. Get the number of posters in each class.
  2. Get the weights of each student in his class.
  3. Get the number of basketballs in the gym.
  4. Get the lengths of all the marker boards in each class.

Will he be using continuous or discrete data sets for that information? Let's tackle this step by step:

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