Statistics and Probability Dictionary
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If a variable can take on
any value between its minimum value and its maximum value,
it is called a continuous variable;
otherwise, it is called a discrete variable.
Some examples will clarify the difference between discrete and continuous
Suppose the fire department mandates that all fire fighters must weigh between
150 and 250 pounds. The weight of a fire fighter would be an example of a
continuous variable; since a fire fighter's weight could take on any value
between 150 and 250 pounds.
Suppose we flip a coin and count the number of heads. The number of heads could
be any integer value between 0 and plus infinity. However, it could not be any
number between 0 and plus infinity. We could not, for example, get 2.5 heads.
Therefore, the number of heads must be a discrete variable.