What is Nominal scale?

Measurement scales are classified popularly under four categories: Nominal, Ordinal, Interval and Ratio scales.

Nominal measurement is used to label a variable without any ordered value. For example, we can ask in a questionnaire ‘What is your gender? The answer is male or female. Here gender is a nominal variable and we associate a value 1 for male and 2 for a female.’

They are numerical for namesake only. For example, the numbers 1,2,3,4 may be used to denote a person being single, married, widowed or divorced respectively. These numbers do not share any of the properties of numbers we deal with in day to life. We cannot say 4 > 1 or 2 < 3 or 1+3 = 4 etc. The order of listings in the categories is irrelevant here. Any statistical analysis carried out with the ordering or with arithmetic operations is meaningless.