In statistics, categorical data is a statistical data type consisting of categorical variables, used for observed data whose value is one of a fixed number of nominal categories, or for data that has been converted into that form, for example as grouped data. More specifically, categorical data may derive from either or both of observations made of qualitative data, where the observations are summarised as counts or cross tabulations, or of quantitative data, where observations might be directly observed counts of events happening or they might counts of values that occur within given intervals. Often, purely categorical data are summarised in the form of a contingency table. However, particularly when considering data analysis, it is common to use the term "categorical data" to apply to data sets that, while containing some categorical variables, may also contain non-categorical variables.
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