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What is Nominal Scale Measurement? Best Techniques to Follow

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In: Education


Have you ever performed a statistical analysis of any kind of data? If yes, then you must know what different scales of measurement are. If you have not performed it yet, no worries, because today, you will learn about those scales. Scales of measurement refer to the various measures researchers use in data analysis. Researchers have to analyse the data before drawing valuable conclusions. These scales of measurement, like nominal scale, play an important role. The centre of today’s discussion is also the nominal scale. In this article, you will find details about its characteristics and examples. There will also be a mention of how to analyse nominal data. Let’s begin our discussion with the fundamental question below.

What is the nominal scaling technique?

A nominal scale is a measurement scale where the numbers serve as tags or labels. The numbers themselves do not have any value. They are only used to identify or classify an object. The easiest of the four variable measurement scales is the nominal scale. Calculations on these variables will be useless because the options have no numerical value. Let’s elaborate with the help of an example.


Please select the degree of discomfort that you feel for the diseases.

  1. Mild
  2. Moderate
  3. Severe

See, this is a nominal scale of measurement. There are numbers, but they do not have any values. They are just acting as labels or tags for other options. The original answers are Mild, Moderate, and Severe.

Characteristics of nominal scale

Like every other measurement scale, the nominal scale also possesses some characteristics. A brief description of its properties is as follows:

  • In this scale, the variable is divided into two or more categories. For example, it could be agree/disagree or yes/no. In this measurement scale, the answer can fall into either category. It means that there is no specific answer.
  • This scale is qualitative and does not involve any numerals. The numerics are only used for tags or labels of non-numeric data.
  • On a nominal scale, the numbers do not define an object’s characteristics. They are just there for counting the number of options.

How do you use a nominal scale?

You can use a nominal scale for many purposes. The primary purpose of its usage is to collect data through surveys and questionnaires. You must use a question-type survey to collect data using the nominal scale. The questions can be of various types. Therefore, hiring a dissertation proposal writing service can enable you to choose the correct one. The top online survey platforms today include a variety of nominal scale options, some of which are as follows:

  • Open-ended questions
  • Multiple response questions
  • Close-Open ended questions

Open-ended questions

This question type permits the respondents to answer the question freely. The respondents can answer based on their thoughts and ideas. It may consist of questions that have blank space to answer. Open-ended questions also give you choices to choose from. For example, what is the colour of your hair? There will be options below for you to choose the colour of your hair. So, open-ended may or may not use a nominal scale.

Multiple response questions

This type of question allows the participants to answer more than one option. The respondent can choose two or more options from the answers given. Multiple responses do not mean that respondent has the free choice of choosing the answers. As a researcher, you can control the limit of a respondent’s choices. In this type of question, there is extensive use of a nominal scale as there are more choices.

Close-Open ended questions

In this type of question, you will make a combination of close and open-ended questions. To give it an open look, you will add the option of “others.” The respondents can put their views and thoughts in this section if their choice is not on the list of given choices. Further, the nominal scale labels or tags all other questions. An example question of a close-open, ended question is:

What is your mother language?

  1. English
  2. Urdu
  3. Punjabi
  4. Chinese

How do you measure nominal?

After conducting a survey based on nominal data, it is time to analyse the data that you have gathered so far. There are some methods available that you can use to measure the nominal data. Let’s look at those in detail below.

Grouping method

It is the most widely used method of measuring nominal data. In this method, you group the gathered data into different categories. After grouping the data, you calculate the mode and percentage of each category. This way, you analyse how many respondents agree or disagree with your statement.

For instance, after collecting the data about the colour of the hair of your target population, you must group it. You can group the data in black, brown, blonde, and white hair. Once grouped, the next step is calculating the percentage, which is very easy.

Graphical or chart method method

The graphical method is also popular for analysing data collected by nominal scale measurement. In this method, you create different types of graphs and charts in excel. Some online survey tools can create these charts for free. All you need to do is analyse the results based on your population. Some of the notable charts are pie and bar charts.

What is the best way to measure nominal data?

The best way to measure the nominal data is through the graphical method. The reason behind this is that graphs are easy to create and interpret. Most modern tools can also create pie and bar charts for free. Hence, the graphical method is the best way.


It is easy to generate responses using closed-ended questions using the nominal scale. You can collect a lot of responses within a shorter period. Moreover, interpreting and analysing the nominal data is also easy. All in all, this measurement scale is very helpful for researchers to gather data through surveys and questionnaires.

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