Cat has taught a variety of subjects, including communications, mathematics, and technology. Cat has a master's degree in education and is currently working on her Ph.D.
You will find numerical data in mathematics and in science. Sometimes, it can get confusing to identify. In this lesson, you will learn about numerical data and how it is used.
Types of Data
Data, in mathematical and scientific speak, is a group of information collected. The information could be anything, and is often used to prove or disprove a hypothesis, or scientific guess, during an experiment. Data that can be collected can be hair color, number of movies a person goes to, how a person feels about a certain topic, how much money a group of people make over the course of time, and so much more. Data is usually grouped into two different types of information: categorical and numerical. In this lesson, we'll talk about numerical data.
What Is Numerical Data?
Numerical data is information that is something that is measurable. It is always collected in number form, although there are other types of data that can appear in number form. An example of numerical data would be the number of people that attended the movie theater over the course of a month.
One of the ways you can identify numerical data is by seeing if the data can be added together. In fact, you should be able to perform just about any mathematical operation on numerical data. You can also put data in ascending (least to greatest) and descending (greatest to least) order. Data can only be numerical if the answers can be represented in fraction and/or decimal form. If you have to group the information into categories, then it is considered categorical.
If you were to measure the height of four ladders, you could average the heights, you could add the heights, and you could put them in ascending or descending order. That's because the height of the ladders is numerical data!
Identifying Numerical Data
Let's see if we can identify numerical data when it is presented. Look at the following image. Can you identify which data is numerical?
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What do you think? With the data Bobby collected, you can average the team's track times, you can order the times fast to slow, or slow to fast. Because of this, Bobby collected the numerical data. Susie could be collecting the number of shoes each person preferred, but she would have to put those numbers into categories for each type of shoe. Because of this, Susie collected the categorical data. Did you get the answer right?
Okay, let's try another example. Can you identify the numerical data?
What do you think? Is the data numerical? Well, Nathan certainly collected numbers; he has a number for how many people have a peanut allergy, and he collected numbers for how many people do not have a peanut allergy.
Can you have half a peanut allergy? No, not really. While people may have varying reactions to peanuts, they either have an allergy or don't. That means that we can't collect data that could be in fraction or decimal form. For example, we can't have 21.5 people that have a peanut allergy or 38 1/2 people that do not have a peanut allergy.
Therefore, because the data collected can't be in fraction or decimal form it is not numerical data. Remember, there are other types of data that can be in numbers, but that doesn't make it numerical data.
Let's review. Numerical data is data that is measurable, such as time, height, weight, amount, and so on. You can help yourself identify numerical data by seeing if you can average or order the data in either ascending or descending order. Numerical data must also be able to be presented in either fraction and/or decimal form, like the height of a person, for example. Numerical data is the counterpart to categorical data, which must be grouped into categories before looking at the numbers in that data.
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