Data Levels of Measurement
There are different
levels of measurement
that have been classified into four categories. It is importantfor the researcher to understand the different levels of measurement, as these levels of measurementplay a part in determining the arithmetic and the statistical operations that are carried out on the data.In ascending order of precision, the four different levels of measurement are:
ratioThe first level of measurement is
. In this level of measurement, the numbers areused to classify the data. Also, in this level of measurement, words and letters can be used. Supposethere are data about people belonging to two different genders. In this case, the person belonging to thefemale gender could be classified as F, and the person belonging to the male gender could be classifiedas M. This type of assigning classification is nothing but the nominal level of measurement.The second level of measurement is the
of measurement. This level of measurement depicts some ordered relationship between the number of items. Suppose a student scoresthe maximum marks in the class. In this case, he would be assigned the first rank. Then, the personscoring the second highest marks would be assigned the second rank, and so on. This level of measurement signifies some specific reason behind the assignment. The ordinal level of measurementindicates an approximate ordering of the measurements. The researcher should note that in this typeof measurement, the difference or the ratio between any two types of rankings is not the same along thescale.The third level of measurement is the
of measurement. The interval level of measurementnot only classifies and orders the measurements, but it also specifies that the distances between eachinterval on the scale are equivalent along the scale from low interval to high interval. For example, aninterval level of measurement could be the measurement of anxiety in a student between the score of 10and 11, if this interval is the same as that of a student who is in between the score of 40 and 41. Apopular example of this level of measurement is temperature in centigrade, where, for example, thedistance between 94
C and 96
C is the same as the distance between 100
C and 102
C.The fourth level of measurement is the
of measurement. In this level of measurement, themeasurements can have a value of zero as well, which makes this type of measurement unlike the other types of measurement, although the properties are similar to that of the interval level of measurement. Inthe ratio level of measurement, the divisions between the points on the scale have an equivalent distancebetween them, and the rankings assigned to the items are according to their size.The researcher should note that among these levels of measurement, the nominal level is simply used toclassify data, whereas the levels of measurement described by the interval level and the ratio level aremuch more exact.
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