A discrete variable
is one that cannot
take on all values within the limits of the variable. For example,
responses to a five-point rating scale can only take on the values 1,
2, 3, 4, and 5. The variable cannot have the value 1.7. A variable
such as a person's height can take on any value. Variables that can
take on any value and therefore are not discrete are called
computed from discrete variables
have many more possible values than the discrete variables themselves.
The mean on a five-point scale could be 3.117 even though 3.117 is not
possible for an individual score.