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CensusAtSchool Australia

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Back to CensusAtSchool home page CaSQ 3C - Categorical Data: What’s the Difference Between Nominal and Ordinal?

You can download this activity as a rich text file (RTF) using the link at the bottom of the page.


1. Sort the following CensusAtSchool question topics according to whether they will yield ordinal or nominal data.

Favourite sport
Year level
How internet is accessed at home
How internet is used at home
Favourite type of music
Travel method to school


2. Why is ‘State/Territory or Country that you were born in’ considered to be nominal data?
    3. We know that a postcode is categorical data. Decide whether you think it is nominal or ordinal data, and justify your reasoning.

    How to: Get a Random Sample from CensusAtSchool

    Go to the CensusAtSchool Random Sampler to download a sample.

    Reference year: (select year) Select questions: categorical data

    Sample size: At least 30 students

    You can select a postcode range that covers your school, but please be aware that accessing an adequate sample will be dependent upon how many students in your area submitted questionnaires. The wider the postcode range the greater the chance of getting the required sample.

    Year level: Select a range of year levels.

    4. Download a random sample of thirty students from the CensusAtSchool Random Sampler. Select one categorical variable from the sample. eg. birth month.
      5. Create a frequency table and tabulate your raw data for the variable you have selected.
        6. Use the data in your frequency table to draw up a bar chart to display your data.

        7. Explain why we choose to display this data as a bar chart instead of a line graph, or a scatter plot.
          8. Write three sentences describing the findings in your graph.

          Download the full activity:

          Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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