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Continuous (Interval or Ratio) Scale Data

    Definition

    • Data points where there is a sense of order and rank. In addition, the magnitude of difference between each number is the same and measurable.
    • Made up of two types of scales of data, interval scale and ratio scale.
    • The only difference between interval and ration scale data is whether or not the scale being referred to has an absolute zero. 
      • Interval scale data:
        • When numbers have units that are of equal magnitude as well as rank order on a scale without an absolute zero
        • Scales of this type can have an arbitrarily assigned "zero", but it will not correspond to an absence of the measured variable.  For example, temperature in Fahrenheit scale. 
      • Ratio scale data:
        • When numbers have units that are of equal magnitude as well as rank order on a scale with an absolute zero
        • Examples include: heart rate, blood pressure, distance.
    Charactersitics

    • For interval and ratio data can be converted into ordinal data, but ordinal data cannot be converted into continuous data.
    • Can be described as a mean or median.
    References
    1. Gaddis ML et al. Introduction to biostatistics: part 1, basic concepts. Ann Emerg Med 1990;19:86-89.
    Editors & Reviewers

    Editors:

    • Anthony J. Busti, MD, PharmD, FNLA, FAHA
    • Karolina DeAugustinis, MD 

    Last Reviewed: July 2015