Qualitative Variable – Definition, Types

Qualitative Variable

Qualitative Variable


Qualitative variables are those that can be observed and measured, but which cannot be expressed numerically. Qualitative variables include things like hair color, eye color, and gender.

Qualitative research is often used to study human behavior, since it is difficult to quantify things like emotions or opinions.

Types of Qualitative Variable

There are two types of Qualitative Variables:

  • Nominal Variable
  • Ordinal Variable

Nominal Variable

Nominal variables are the simplest type of qualitative variable. They can be divided into two categories:

  • Categorical
  • Binary

Categorical variables are those that can be placed into distinct groups, such as eye color (brown, blue, green, etc.).

Binary variables are those that can only have two values, such as gender (male or female).

Ordinal Variable

Ordinal variables are similar to nominal variables in that they can be placed into groups. However, with ordinal variables, the groups can be rank-ordered. For example, you could group people by their level of education (elementary school, high school, college, graduate school).

Example of Qualitative Variable

An Example of Qualitative Variable would be: A business selling hair care products may segment their customers by hair type: straight, curly, or wavy. They would then create separate marketing campaigns for each segment, as the needs and wants of each group differ. By using qualitative variables in market research, businesses can gain insights that allow them to better serve their customers.

When to use Example of Qualitative Variable

Qualitative variables are used to describe data that can be categorized. For example, you might use a qualitative variable to describe the type of product your customers purchase.

You might also use a qualitative variable to track how often your customers purchase your product. If you track the number of times each customer purchases your product, you have a quantitative variable.

If you want to track how satisfied your customers are with your product, you would use a qualitative satisfaction scale. This scale would likely include values such as “Very Satisfied,” “Satisfied,” “Neutral,” “Unsatisfied,” and “Very Unsatisfied.”

You can also use qualitative variables to segment your customer base. For example, you might segment your customers by age group, income level, or location.

Purpose of Qualitative Variable

The purpose of using qualitative variables is to allow for comparisons to be made between different groups or to see how changes in one group may impact other groups. Qualitative variables are often used in research to study human behavior, as they can provide insights into why people behave the way they do. Additionally, qualitative variables can be used to examine the relationships between different factors.

Advantages of Qualitative Variable

There are some advantages of using qualitative variables in research.

  • They can provide detailed information about a population. This information can be used to generate hypotheses or answer questions about the population. Qualitative variables can also be used to identify patterns and trends in data.
  • They can be used to study rare events. This is because qualitative data can be collected on a small number of cases, making it possible to study rare events.
  • Qualitative data can be used to study change over time. This is because qualitative data can be collected over a period of time.

Limitations of Qualitative Variable

Some Limitations of Qualitative Variable are:

  • They can be difficult to measure. This is because there is no set scale or units of measurement for qualities like color or size. This can make it hard to compare data from different sources, or to track changes over time.
  • They are often subject to interpretation. What one person considers to be a “medium” size may be considered “large” by someone else. This can make it difficult to get accurate and consistent data when using qualitative variables.

About the author

Muhammad Hassan

I am Muhammad Hassan, a Researcher, Academic Writer, Web Developer, and Android App Developer. I have worked in various industries and have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. In my spare time, I enjoy writing blog posts and articles on a variety of Academic topics. I also like to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the IT industry to share my knowledge with others through my writing.