Discrete And Continuous Variables Definition and Examples

Grand Canyon –  Sym 506 Weekly Discussion

Provide some examples of discrete and continuous variables. What attributes of these variables make them discrete and continuous? Why?

Variable refers to a quantity which changes in value. A discrete variable refers to a variable whose value can be found by counting. Continuous variable on the other hand is a variable whose value is found by measuring. In case a variable can take any number between two particular values it is referred to as continuous variable, otherwise this variable is referred to as discrete variable.  Some of the examples of discrete variables include number of present students, number of green marbles in a jar, counts of heads when three coins are flipped, gender male or female,  and grade level of students. The possible examples of continuous variables include student’s height in class, student’s weight in class, time it takes to go to work, distance traveled between offices. In this regard, discrete variables can be said to be variable that can return integers. There are no decimal numbers but only whole numbers in the discrete variable thus one variable can easily be separated from each other. Continuous variable on the other hand are made up of floating numbers. These are numbers that cannot be clearly separated and thus, they are very close to each other. It is therefore hard to draw a distinct line between one variable to another. They are normally found in between the two whole numbers or two discrete numbers.  Discrete variables can just take specific value and thus they do not show any gray area between them. Continuous variable on the other hand, are not restricted to describe a separate value but can adapt to any value in a continuous range. Although discrete variable can either be numeric or categories such as colors, shapes, or genders, continuous variables can only be numeric.

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