University of Exeter


PSY2005 Statistics and Research Methods: Quantitative data analysis component

Examples on categorical variables

The data used in the following examples are part of those collected in a questionnaire study of neighbourly help (see Webley & Lea 1993, Human Relations 46, 65-76). On the next page you will find an extract from the questionnaire. People living in different districts were sent different coloured questionnaires, so we knew when the forms came back where they had come from. The corresponding data (including a variable giving the district the respondent lived in) are stored in the Singer file /singer1/eps/psybin/stats/neighbor.MTW
The data are coded as follows. District names are replaced by numbers, and these occupy the last column of the worksheet. The remainder of the columns each correspond to one question. For each question, the first answer category was given code 1, the second code 2, and so on.
The four districts can be briefly described as follows. District 1 was a long-established residential area near the city centre, with housing dating from the late nineteenth century. Originally working class, it now has a considerable middle class population with some student and other temporary accommodation. District 2 was a working-class housing estate dating from the 1930s, with mainly rented accommodation but some owner occupation. District 3 was the oldest part of a more recently developed, mainly middle-class, almost exclusively owner-occupied estate, dating from the 1960s. District 4 was the most recently developed part of a more sought-after middle-class residential area, with smaller but almost entirely owner-occupied properties dating from the 1970s and 1980s.

  1. Retrieve this worksheet into Minitab. Use INFO to examine what variables it contains, and DESCRIBE or HIST to get an idea of the distribution of responses between the categories.
  2. All the variables in this study are categorical, but some of them consist of ordered categories, and some of them of unordered categories that is, some of them are measured at the ordinal level and some of them at the nominal level. Which are which?
  3. Use multiple regression, including dummy variables where appropriate, to find out how people's ratings of the neighbourliness of the area where they live are related to the answers they gave to the other questions and to the district where they now live.
  4. With all the other variables taken into account, are the following variables significantly associated with rated neighbourliness?
  5. Can you relate the rated neighbourliness of a district to its social/demographic characteristics?


About how long have you lived where you do now?
        Less than 6 months
        6-12 months
        1-3 years
        3-10 years
        Over 10 years

Where were you living before you moved to your present house?
        In the same neighbourhood?
        Elsewhere in Exeter
        Elsewhere in Devon
        Elsewhere in Britain
How neighbourly do you think the area where you now live is?:
        Very unfriendly
        Not very friendly
        About average
        Fairly friendly
        Very friendly
Roughly how many people in your street, or in the streets just 
   near you, do you know the names of?
        More than 20

How many of those people (not counting children) would you call by 
   their first names?
        More than 20

Your sex:

Your age:
        Under 18
        Over 65

Stephen Lea

University of Exeter
Department of Psychology
Washington Singer Laboratories
Exeter EX4 4QG
United Kingdom
Tel +44 1392 264626
Fax +44 1392 264623

Send questions and comments to the departmental administrator or to the author of this page
Goto Home page for this course | handout for this topic | dummy test paper
Goto home page for: University of Exeter | Department of Psychology | Staff | Students | Research | Teaching | Miscellaneous

Disclaimer Home (access count since 1st January 1997).
Document revised 7th February 1997