# Is my data ordinal or categorical?

#### oreiken

##### New Member
Hi, I am new to statistics and working on a project as part of a psychology degree. The project involves observing a parent and child interacting and trying to determine if there is correlation between the parent gesturing and the child gesturing. Data is presented as follows.
Parent gesture - 2 Child gesture - 4
Parent gesture - 12 Child gesture - 15
Parent gesture - 14 Child gesture - 19
Parent gesture - 9 Child gesture - 9
etc

The correlation piece I can figure out but I am struggling as to whether the data set is ordinal or categorical. My thought is the data is ordinal since the mother that gestures the most has the child that gestures the most so there is order. Am I correct in my assumption?

Thanks in advance for any guidance.

#### Englund

##### TS Contributor
I'd even say it is data on interval scale.

#### oreiken

##### New Member
Thanks Englund. The question on my project is to choose between ordinal or categorical but your response does make sense.

#### noetsi

##### No cake for spunky
Ordinal and categorical data are the same thing. Categorical variables consist of two types of data - ordered (ordinal) and nominal. It does not really make sense to ask if a variable is categorical or ordinal because if it is ordinal it is categorical.

#### oreiken

##### New Member
Thanks Noetsi. So if you had to classify my data between ordinal and nominal, which would you select?

#### noetsi

##### No cake for spunky
You can tell if categorical data is ordinal rather than nominal if you can rank it (in which case it is ordinal). For example Very Cold, Cold, Hot, Very Hot can be ranked (in terms of heat) so that you know Cold is less hot than Hot, but more hot than Very cold. An example of nominal is religion. There is no way you can logically rank one religion normally as higher or lower on a scale.

It is not clear to me if your data can be ranked or not (in honesty to me it looks like it might be interval, but it is impossible to tell without more details on how specifically you are measuring it).