Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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core definition

Heterogeneity means literally 'of a different kind'.

explanatory context

Heterogeneity is the opposite of homogenous, which means 'of the same kind'.


The heterogeneity of a group on any given variable is best measured by a statistic such as the coefficient of variation, which expresses the dispersion of the data as a proportion of the mean value. The larger the coefficient of variation, the greater the heterogeneity and the smaller it is, the greater the homogeneity.

analytical review (2016) :

Fundamental characteristic of services which results in variation from one service to another, or variation in the same service from day-to-day or from customer-to-customer. Heterogeneity makes it hard for a firm to standardize the quality of its services. Opposite of homogeneity.

associated issues


related areas

See also


Sources, 2016, Heterogeneity, available at , accessed 22 December 2016, still available 3 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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