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Covariate vs Fixed factor[edit]

Can a covariate be a categorical/nominal variable, or should it be a continuous/scale/ratio variable? I ask this because in SPSS you are required to enter categorical variables into 'fixed factor' when performing a general linear model analysis, while continuous variables are entered into the 'Covariate' box. However you often here people say 'I used gender as a covariate' but as gender is obviously a categorical variable. (talk) 16:17, 28 March 2014 (UTC)