(May 5, 2009)

In statistical terminology, a factor is a categorisation which contains two or more mutually exclusive values called levels.  These levels may have a natural order, in which case the variable is said to be an ordinal factor.  An example might be year of birth: 1931 must lie between 1930 and 1932.  Another example would be benefit size band: the 9th decile of sums assured must lie between the 8th and 10th deciles.

In contrast to ordinal factors, a categorical factor is a variable where the levels do not have an obvious order.  An example of a categorical factor would be gender: all you can say about females is that they are categorically different from males, but whether you list males before females or vice versa is…

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Tags: factor, categorical factor, ordinal factor, binary factor, AIC, optimisation

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