A researcher's guide to regression, discretization, and median splits of continuous variables

Derek D. Rucker*, Blakeley B. McShane, Kristopher J. Preacher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

We comment on Iacobucci, Posavac, Kardes, Schneider, and Popovich (2015) by evaluating the practice of discretizing continuous variables. We show that dichotomizing a continuous variable via the median split procedure or otherwise and analyzing the resulting data via ANOVA involves a large number of costs that can be avoided by preserving the continuous nature of the variable and analyzing the data via linear regression. As a consequence, we recommend that regression remain the normative procedure both when the statistical assumptions explored by Iacobucci et al. hold and more generally in research involving continuous variables. We also discuss the advantages of preserving the continuous nature of the variable for graphical presentation and provide practical suggestions for such presentations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)666-678
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

Keywords

  • Categorization
  • Continuous
  • Dichotomization
  • Discretization
  • Median split
  • Regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing

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