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Category Consistency

How can we create consistent categories?

The construction of the reference system could be based on approaches for category construction like in a qualitative content analysis or in a structured observation (using a fixed set of categories).
This means that categories of a variable should not overlap, all possible results should be clearly assigned to a category and the assignment to categories should be precisely regulated.
The following checklist might be used for checking the quality of your categories:

  • Are your levels exclusive? – They should not overlap!
  • Are your descriptions comprehensive, precise and concrete? – Be aware that a clear assignment should be possible!
  • Are your levels complete? Any possible learning development should be representable in the levels!  

Do the intervals between the levels have to be exactly the same? How can we make sure?

The intervals between the levels do not have to be exactly the same, (this is nearly impossible. But the levels should indicate a clear ranking (e.g. level 2 should indicate a clear progress compared to level 1).

Why are there numbers for the stages in the cube? Does that indicate any quantities?

Although there are stages in the cube it is still clearly a qualitative rather than a quantitative approach. For naming the levels in ordinal scales numbers can but must not be used ( In the case of the ACT cube the levels could also be named ABCD instead of 1234.