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Discrete and Continuous Data

Last updated date: 17th Apr 2024
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Introduction to Discrete and Continuous Data

For the purpose of analysis, data are presented as the facts and figures collected together. It is classified into two broad categories: qualitative data and quantitative data. It is not possible to measure qualitative data in terms of numbers and it is subdivided into nominal and ordinal data. Quantitative data, on the other hand, is one that contains numerical values and uses a scope. It is further classified as discrete data and continuous data.

What is Discrete Data?

Data that can only take on certain values are discrete data. These values do not have to be complete numbers, but they are values that are fixed. It only contains finite values, the subdivision of which is not possible. It includes only those values which are separate and can only be counted in whole numbers or integers, which means that the data can not be split into fractions or decimals.

Discrete Data Examples: The number of students in a class, the number of chocolates in a bag, the number of strings on the guitar, the number of fishes in the aquarium, etc.

What is Continuous Data?

Continuous data is the data that can be of any value. Over time, some continuous data can change. It may take any numeric value, within a potential value range of finite or infinite. The continuous data can be broken down into fractions and decimals, i.e. according to measurement accuracy, it can be significantly subdivided into smaller sections.

Continuous Data Examples: Measurement of height and weight of a student, Daily temperature measurement of a place, Wind speed measured daily, etc.

Discrete vs Continuous Examples

Height is continuous but we sometimes don't really worry too much about minor variations and club heights into a set of discrete data instead.

On the other hand, if we count large quantities of any discrete entity. We may prefer not to think of 10,00,100 and 10,00,102 as crucially different values, but instead as nearby points on an approximate continuum.

Difference Between Continuous and Discrete Data

Discrete Data

Continuous Data

The type of data that has clear spaces between values is discrete data. 

Continuous information is information that falls into a continuous series.

Discrete data is countable.

Continuous data is measurable

There are distinct or different values in discrete data.

Every value within a range is included in continuous data.

The bar graph is used to graphically represent discrete data.

A histogram is used to graphically represent continuous data.

Ungrouped frequency distribution of discrete data is performed against a single value

Grouped distribution of continuous data tabulation frequencies is performed against a value group.

Points in a graph of the discrete function remain unconnected. 

The points are associated with an unbroken line.

Questions on Discrete Data Continuous Data

Q: Classify the Following as Discrete and Continuous Data

  1. Ducks in a pond.

  2. Height of a student from age 5-15.

  3. Number of animals in the Zoo.

  4. The result of rolling a dice.

  5. The number of books in a rack.

Ans: Ducks in a pond are discrete data because the number of ducks is a finite number.

  1. The height of a student from age 5-15 is continuous data because the height varies continuously from age 5-15 which is not a constant for 10 years.

  2. The number of animals in a zoo is continuous data because the number of animals varies yearly depending on the reproduction of new animals or the arrival of new animals.

  3. The result of the rolling is a dice is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Therefore this is discrete data.

  4. The number of books in a rack is a finite countable number. Therefore this is discrete data.

  5. The number of books in a rack is a finite countable number. Therefore this is discrete data.

Tips and Tricks to study Discrete and Continuous Data

Statistics is a quite tough subject but for those who know how to use their mind, it’s the best one for them as it involves more practical knowledge and conceptual learning. And this is the reason why most students find it to be an interesting subject. 

In today's changing times, pursuing a career in this subject is known to provide some of the most sought professional options. However, students shall understand that it is important for them to recognize their interests and based on that, select the best career path possible. Statistics involves organizing, analyzing, interpreting, and representing data. 

For some students, it might feel difficult as it involves logical thinking and mathematics but it’s a great option for those who love solving and putting their minds all into logic. 

Here are a few steps to prepare well for your exam which has statistics as a part of the course. 

Let us understand them. 

  • Step One: Master the Foundational Knowledge

It would be great if you already have a bit of knowledge about a course before opting for it. For example, in the case of statistics, algebra is a good option to learn before starting your statistics course. It helps you in saving time later as you already have some knowledge about algebra. Many other courses are available online to master your foundational knowledge which may assist you later. Another example is learning how to use calculators. There are particular calculators for different statistics exams and having good knowledge about their use and implementation would be great. 

  • Step Two: Focus on the Fundamentals

Work more on basics as they form the basis for many other concepts. Once you are clear with the basic concept, you shall be able to understand additional concepts easily. Excelling your basic knowledge about the subject promotes conceptual learning and hence, you can easily get familiar with new concepts too.

  • Step Three: Make Time Your Ally

We all know that time is very important, it doesn’t wait for anyone. So is the case of statistics too. You should know how to manage your time and utilize it in the best way possible. Procrastination isn’t even the last option if you are preparing for a statistics exam. You have to be dedicated. Making a schedule/timetable or studying together with your peers may help you in focusing and keep you active. 

  • Step Four: Get Help When You Need It

Whenever you face any problem the best solution is consulting the concerned teacher, you should never hesitate to ask for doubts. If you feel like your doubt is stupid and you skip it rather than ask it, it is not the correct approach. You should ask the doubt there and then clear it, analyze it and work on it. 

It’s really normal for you to feel anxious before your exam especially when the subject is statistics. Just know that you have prepared and worked hard for this. So, you will get the result too! Results are the outcome of our efforts and if you believe that you have put your best, then you will surely be able to score good marks. It is understandable that it must be making you feel nervous right now but your emotions are valid! All you can do right now is to just take a deep breath and believe in yourself! If you feel tired at the moment, even that too is fine. Have some sleep, it’s important. You cannot expect your brain to work nicely with hundreds of thoughts, it will only create a mess. Sleep deprivation is of no use, instead, you should take a nap to relax the nerves of your brain in order to learn and study later. It might sound a bit weird but do not burden yourself with new topics before the exam. Instead of that, just revise what you’ve already done.

Did You Know?

Age is discrete data because we could be infinitely precise and use an infinite number of decimal places, rendering age continuous as a result. However, generally, we use age as a discrete variable.

FAQs on Discrete and Continuous Data

1. What are the career options in the field of Statistics?

There are a number of options if you go for the statistics degree. You can go for a business analyst or a statistician or a financial analyst or even an economist etc. You can go for many of the career options if you pursue stats, you can get detailed information about all of the above-mentioned choices and also many more careers on the online website of Vedantu which tells the full forms and also the detailed explanation of each one of them.

2. I want to study the topic of Statistics for my college-level exams? Can I get some help?

Surely, you can get all the study material on Vedantu mobile app- learn live online. You can also visit their website. You can get study material, solved and unsolved questions, and also quizzes which will help you test your knowledge.

3. What is the main difference between discrete and continuous data?

Discrete data is data that can only take certain values, while data that can take any value is continuous data.

4. Can we have both discrete data and continuous data from the same experiment?

If we have quantitative data, such as the correct number of questions on a test, then the data can be continuous or discrete. Finite values have discrete data.

5. How to differentiate the obtained results as discrete and continuous data?

It is easy in many cases, discrete data is preceded by “the number of”, which makes the differentiation of results easier.