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Quantification means information as a numerical value and comes from the Latin quantum ("how much", "how big"). The properties and properties of an object or fact are reformulated into measurable quantities and numerical values .

The prerequisite for this is the definition of a quantifiable variable and the specification of a quantification method. Comparability arises through the application of the same procedure to different things or facts. Quantification enables the development and use of differentiated quantitative models of an area and thus consciously controlled, differentiated, target-oriented action - in contrast to intuitively controlled action.

In science and technology

In science and technology , quantification takes place through the planned activity of a measurement, including the calculation from measured values. The sub-area for this is called measurement technology .

Quantifiable quantities are, for example, temperature , time , angle , frequency , speed , acceleration , force , pressure , electrical voltage , light intensity , radiation dose . The measurement consists in obtaining a measured value - often by converting it into an electrical analog or digital signal . The actual measuring probe is called a sensor , the sub-area for sensors is sensor technology .

Representatives of classical behavioral biology developed a so-called principle of double quantification within the framework of instinct theory . It was assumed here that the intensity and speed of an instinctive act depend on the quality of the key stimulus and the strength of the animal's willingness to act.

In business and politics

In areas of economy and politics it is often a matter of decision-making bases and success control , e.g. B. in innovations . According to Hauschildt, three approaches or concepts are possible:

  1. Qualitative approach in which the assessment of the success is based on (subjective) judgments of the interviewed persons ( managers , control persons , external experts );
  2. Quantitative approach, in which precise results data (achieved sales increase , profit, etc.), as well as " comprehensible calculation algorithms " are used;
  3. Semi-quantitative approach, the starting point of which is a large number of observation and survey items that are condensed into a few types by means of factor or cluster analyzes . Typical examples are voting or an opinion poll .

But mostly a combination of these three approaches is necessary in order to be able to evaluate the very different effects precisely, in detail and at the same time in a complex manner. This is e.g. B. a research topic in business informatics .

In the humanities

Humanities such as quantitative linguistics , psychology and sociology often try to capture the attitudes and behavior of individuals or groups using quantitative models. Since human behavior is subject to great variations, these models are almost always of a statistical nature and make statements about probability.

In sports

In numerous sports , such as track and field disciplines , alpine skiing or swimming , it is possible to carry out a performance evaluation based on measurable (physical) performance assessments. These differ from more difficult to quantify sports, such as apparatus gymnastics , figure skating or gymnastics , which involve the problem that the judges or judges add a certain amount of subjective judgment to the evaluation .

In experimental diagnostics

In experimental psychology , it is largely a matter of making the qualitative properties of a behavior or a performance more detailed, comparable and as objectively assessable as possible. For this purpose, test psychology makes use of suitable methods which, via factor analysis and quantification , feed the starting material, which initially only appears accessible to subjective observation and the evaluation resulting therefrom, to an analysis and statistical evaluation that is as objective as possible. This means that the properties have to be transferred into numerical values ​​and qualities into quantities.

For example, the Vienna coordination course breaks down the very complex range of coordinative skills into its most important components using a factor analysis . These are then connected to one another in a so-called test battery , provoked by specific tasks and, from the point of view that the demands on the ability to coordinate gradually increase with the speed of the required movement sequences, converted into numerical values ​​over the corridor of time measurement. Standard tables , which arise from the raw scores and are shown in numbers, then enable a comparative analysis and evaluation of the test performance.

Psychological diagnostics proceed methodically in a similar way with the phenomenon of intelligence . It first isolates the factors classified as relevant in order to then make them recognizable in terms of performance in subtests of a battery using tailored tasks. This strategy was pioneered by Alfred Binet , who is considered the founder of psychometrics , Charles Spearman , to whom we owe essential impulses to the development of classical test theory , and John C. Raven , who contributed pioneering research work to implementation and evaluation with his matrix tests.

Examples of quantification


School report grades are a prime example of the search for as objective evaluation criteria as possible. They are measurement figures which, instead of linguistically formulated assessments , are intended to represent the ability or learning ability of students or course participants.

In addition to the purpose of motivating , the certificate grade makes the performance of students or trainees comparable, but also of teachers or schools. At the same time, the problems with quantification become clear here: its residual uncertainty and the limitation of quantitative models (the characterization of a person using a few numbers) never do it completely justice.


The economy determines statistical figures on the purchasing power or standard of living of a region , a people or individual groups (so-called primary data ). These can be collected relatively easily, but say little z. B. about the quality of life of the individual citizen. In order to quantify this, a calculation rule would have to be specified in which there is naturally a lot of room for subjective evaluations. There is such a thing as part of product and consumer research . The spread of the data is often more interesting , e.g. B. the standard deviation from the mean .

A more sensible quantification is therefore often the transition from primary data to secondary data - e.g. B. the aggregation of results from individual census areas to mean values ​​and subsequent analysis of variance .

Limits to quantification

In the performance assessments (grades) of schoolchildren, students, apprentices or recruits, the so-called "verbal marks" for status calculations and more precise comparisons are often converted into "numerical marks". For example, a “2” can represent the evaluation “good” or a “3” the evaluation “satisfactory”. As far as it stays that way, this seems justifiable. The quantification becomes problematic when the initial assessments are “over-mathematized”, ignoring their peculiarity as only very rough estimated values, in the form that they are broken down into decimals and thus further calculated with them and thus formally an accuracy of the statement and the performance comparison is suggested the starting material does not produce. The evaluation cannot make more differentiated statements than the original material (the raw scores) provides. The risk of overmathematization and the associated misjudgment of estimated values ​​can be minimized by structuring the starting material in terms of numbers, e.g. B. an intellectual achievement in point values, a shooting achievement via the number of rings, a speed achievement via the time or frequency measurement, a throwing achievement via the distance measurement. Here, however, the qualitative features, such as the aesthetics of the run or jump, are not taken into account. As in ski jumping , for example , they are included in a combination of points based on measurable distance and assessed posture and landing. The accuracy of the numerical evaluation must correspond to a corresponding precision and differentiation of the output data and must not overinterpret them.


  • Gustav A. Lienert, Ulrich Raatz: Test setup and test analysis. 6th edition. Beltz, Weinheim 2011, ISBN 978-3-621-27424-1 .
  • Udo Rauchfleisch: Test Psychology. An introduction to psychodiagnostics (= UTB . 1063). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-525-03502-3 .
  • Siegbert Warwitz: The quantification of qualitative variables , In: Ders .: The sport science experiment. Planning-implementation-evaluation-interpretation . Verlag Hofmann, Schorndorf 1976, pp. 11-16, DNB 740560026 , ISBN 3-7780-4551-2 .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Warwitz, Siegbert: The Vienna coordination course , In: Ders .: The sport science experiment. Planning-implementation-evaluation-interpretation . Verlag Hofmann, Schorndorf 1976, pp. 48-62
  2. ^ Bös, Klaus: The Vienna coordination course from Warwitz . In: Ders .: Handbook of sport motor tests . 2nd edition, Göttingen 2001, pp. 361-364
  3. Schirach Norbert: The creation of norm tables for a sports motor test battery (Vienna coordination course) , Wiss. State examination thesis, Karlsruhe 1979
  4. Groffmann KJ: The development of intelligence measurement . In: R. Heiss (Hrsg.): Psychologische Diagnostik (= Handbuch der Psychologie. Volume 6), CJ Hogrefe, Göttingen 1964, pp. 148-199
  5. ^ Gustav A. Lienert, Ulrich Raatz: Test setup and test analysis . 6th edition. Beltz, Weinheim 2011
  6. Siegbert Warwitz: The Quantification of Qualitative Variables , In: Ders .: Das Sportwissenschaftliche Experiment. Planning-implementation-evaluation-interpretation . Verlag Hofmann, Schorndorf 1976, pp. 11-16
  7. ibid p. 12
  8. ^ Gustav A. Lienert, Ulrich Raatz: Test setup and test analysis . 6th edition. Beltz, Weinheim 2011, p. 8

Web links

Wiktionary: Quantification  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations