Definition:Binary Variable

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Definition

A binary variable is a random variable which can take one of only $2$ values.

It is conventional for the purposes of data analysis to encode such binary variables by use of a random variable which takes the values $0$ and $1$.


Examples

Gender

A record of the gender of a newborn baby will generally be implemented as a binary variable.

Hence, for example, male may be encoded as $0$, and female as $1$.


Presence or Absence

The presence or absence of a bacterium in a clinical sample may be implemented as a binary variable.

Hence, for example, absent may be encoded as $0$, and present as $1$.


Bernoulli Trial

The outcome of a Bernoulli trial may be implemented as a binary variable.

Hence, for example, the outcome from a coin-tossing exercise: heads may be encoded as $0$, and tails as $1$.


Also see

  • Results about binary variables can be found here.


Sources