Continuous data is information that can be measured at infinite points. Visually, this can be depicted as a smooth graph that gives a value for every point along an axis. Discrete data is information that can be counted. This can be visually depicted as a bar chart.
Continuous vs DiscreteContinuous variables such as time, temperature and distance can theoretically be measured at infinitely small points. You can measure time every hour, minute or second. In theory, a second could be divided into infinite points in time. Discrete variables are elements that can be counted such as people, buildings or money. Generally speaking, you can't divide a person, building or penny into smaller units. As such, they can only be counted one way.
ExampleOcean currents are continuous data because they can be measured at infinite levels of detail at infinite points in time.The test results of 300 students who write a multiple choice exam with 65 points is discrete because both students and points are counted with no measurements possible inbetween.
|Continuous Data ||Discrete Data |
|Definition||Information that can be measured at infinite points.||Information that is counted.|
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