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# Sept 24 - Scales of Measurement.doc

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University of Alberta

Physical Education and Sport

PEDS109

John Dunn

Fall

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Sept 24 – Scales Of Measurement
Nominal Scale
• Nominal scales have a set of categories with different names. There are no
quantitative distinctions between observations/categories
• The difference between categories or numbers is totally meaningless
• The values are meaningless other than to identify there is a difference
between categories
• The only thing you can do with nominal data is frequency data (ex. So many
people walked, so many people drove etc.)
• We can assign values but the magnitude of the differences are meaningless
• No – no numeric; minal 0 minimal use
Ordinal Scale
• As increase in numeric value, the order of the number is important
• Ex. John finished a race n 1 , dave finishes in 2 , and mike finished in 3 . The
numbers imply a rank order of performance. However the difference between
1 and 2 nd is meaningless in terms of magnitude. John could finish in 20:10
and dave could finish in 20:11 and mitke could finish in 27:45. In ordinal
scale, the difference in time between first and second is meaningless
• The order is implied but we don't know how much of a difference exists in the
numbers
• Ordinal implies the notion of rank order (mnemonic aid)
• Provides order to our data, but other than that, we cannot make any
inferences about the magnitude of the differences in numbers..
Interval Scale
• most common interval scale is temperature
• interval scales contain a set of ordered categories and the interval
(difference) between each successive category is the same.. • ex. 0-1 degrees difference of 1 degree is the same difference of 1 degree in
20-21 degrees
• interval scales don't possess an absolute zero point indicating a complete
absence of the construct being measured
• anything with an arbitraty zero point will be unable to use ratio comparison
measurement (ex

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