What are Cases in Statistics? (Definition & Examples)


In statistics, cases simply refer to the individuals in a dataset.

In most datasets, we have cases (the individuals) and variables (the attributes for the individuals).

For example, the following dataset contains 10 cases and 3 variables that we measure for each case:

Notice that each case has multiple variables or “attributes.”

For example, each player has a value for points, assists, and rebounds.

Note that cases are also sometimes called experimental units. These terms are used interchangeably.

Check out the following examples to gain an even better understanding of cases.

Example 1: Education

The following dataset contains 10 cases and 2 variables:

The cases are the individual students and the variables are time studied and exam score.

Example 2: Business

The following dataset contains 6 cases and 3 variables:

The cases are the individual stores and the variables are total sales, total customers, and total refunds.

Example 3: Biology

The following dataset contains 15 cases and 3 variables:

The cases are the individual plants and the variables are height, width, and age.

Additional Resources

The following tutorials provide additional information on other terms commonly used in statistics:

What is an Observation in Statistics?
What is an Influential Observation in Statistics?
What is a Covariate in Statistics?
What is a Parameter of Interest in Statistics?

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