Recognition and Reacall: Nominal, Ordinal, Interval Measurement

A Justice Site

Recognition and Recall

Local Hub Sites
Latest update: November 1, 2000
Curran or Takata.

jeanne's lecture notes on:

# Nominal, Ordinal, Interval Measurement

This recognition and recall practice is based on p.31 of the Dowdall, Logio, Babbie and Halley text.

Click on any of the question numbers for jeanne's response.

1. What level of measurement are we using if we measure education by the highest grade completed?

One plausible response:

We are using interval measurement because "highest" does not refer to simply ranking the grades. It refers to which grade the subject should choose to report: the highest. And grade levels traditionally represent one-year intervals. That really makes it interval measurement where we're measuring the number of years completed.

This was trickly. Heh! Heh!

2. What level of measurement are we using if we measure age by asking the subject to give us his/her actual age?

One plausible response:

Age is measured in years, unless you're less than 2 years old. So this is interval measurement. No tricks!

If you're under 2, and your mother gives your age in months, is that interval?

3. What level of measurement are we using if we measure social class by asking the subject to choose the yearly income bracket into which he/she fits?

One plausible response:

When the term "bracket" is used, that's another term for category. Here we're not measuring the actual income in \$; we're measuring whether you're in a high or low bracket. Brackets can be ordered or ranked. But they don't give interval data. This is ordinal measurement.

4. What level of measurement are we using if we measure class by asking the subject to choose the weekly income category into which he/she fits?

One plausible response:

We're still asking here for actual income. That's interval. It doesn't matter whether it's annual or weekly. Notice how this is similar to the years, months problem, in measuring age.

5. What level of measurement are we using if we measure education by asking the subject to state the number of years of school completed?

One plausible response:

This is interval measurement. School years are equal intervals. No tricks, honest!

Yes. Months are equal intervals. It's interval measurement.