I want to build a prediction model where one predictor variable is a score of roman numeral I, II, III, and IV. I am using R and I currently store this feature as factor.
This, however, is not fully representing the available information. In reality, there is a grading of "I" being "best" to "IV" being worst.
One possibility would be to represent these as ordinals using integer 1,2,3,4. Another way I just read about would be using an ordered factor.
I have questions about these approaches:
1) Are prediction models (rpart, randomforest or similar) considering the ordered characteristic of a factor feature or do they treat them just as a regular unordered factor?
EDIT: To put it differently: Does the random forest or rpart see a difference between a factor that has been produced by
factor() vs one that has been produced by
ordered() or is it the same to these algorithms? Does it affect the prediction?
2) What is the difference between using an integer representation vs using an ordered factor? Which one is desired in which use cases? (I can imagine that ordered factor is useful when the scaling between the ordinal steps is not clear - I for myself do not know if a change from I to II means "double as bad" or "four times as bad").