Is it possible to transform a categoric variable into a continuous variable?


The title is my question. Can someone answer me, please? I'm doing a work using the Likert scale, but I'm not sure if it's possible to transform a categoric variable into a continuous variable.

Thanks in advance.

As far as I know, it is not possible.

However, depending on your situation, you can perhaps assume that there is a latent continuous variable, which leads to categorical observations based on some binning. Whether this assumption will help you in your objective or not, that I can't say.

Hope this helps.

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I got confused when a colleague said that it's possible.

In my research, there was various affirmations and the boxes "completely agree", "agree", "indifferent", "disagree", "completely disagree". If the correct answer for that question was "completely agree", we should give to this person 5 points. 1 point, in this case, if this person answered: "completely disagree".

He said that, like this, I could just sum points of a group of people (like men or women) and, then, I would get a continuous variable for each question in this group.

Like, I could segregate my data into "men" and "women", and just look at their punctuation in each question and consider this as a continuous variable. Is that correct?

It looks like you simply want to recode the data. This is quite common in some areas of psychological research. Technically,the recoded variable is not a continuous variable but you can recode from a character variable to a numeric.

This recode function from the car package should do what you want.


xx  <-  c("a", "b", "c", "d", "e")

aa  <-  recode(xx, '"a" = "1"; "b" = "2"; "c" = "3"; "d" = "4"; "e" = "5"')
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