How can you tell if a variable is nominal, ordinal, or numerical? Why does it even matter? Determining the appropriate variable type used in a study is essential to determining the correct statistical method to use when obtaining your results. It is important not to take the variables out of context because more often than not, the same variable that can be ordinal can also be numerical, depending on how the data was recorded and analyzed. This post will give you a specific example that may help you better grasp this concept.