The Road to Reason: The Cycle of Instrument Development

There are no pat answers on the road to reason, but there are many satisfying questions. We start from deep within ourselves with Peirce's signs (RMT 11:1 p. 539-40). Our brain cells work as a pack of hounds each searching for the prey (RMT 10:2 p. 501). We abduct in thought, making intuitive leaps, defying logic, as we strive to formulate ideas expressible as words in some thesis. Then we communicate it to ourselves and others, searching for qualitative instances of what might be it.

There is no contradiction or conflict between the qualitative and the quantitative. The qualitative is complex, inscrutable, unique. But to learn from it, utilize it, manipulate it, it must be made simple, obvious, general. The leap from qualitative to quantitative is based on this organizing principle. We want to leave behind the contradiction, chaos and idiosyncrasy of the impractical concrete. We want to build an artificial world based on the practical abstract.

Rasch measurement is our construction tool. In a careful process of deduction, we pile up the qualitative. We compress it. We chip off protuberances, smooth off rough edges. Finally we arrive at an artifact as elegant and hand-crafted as was ever formed from raw material by any craftsman.

But does our artifact have value? Is it a bauble or a gem? We must think. We must analyze. We must induce what greater meaning our artifact embodies. This prompts speculation, new abduction, and we're off to the beginning of a further road to reason.

Benjamin D. Wright


From Social to Science
From Purpose to Meaning
From Qualitative to Quantitative
Pack → Chain → Team
.... and back again ....

The Road to Reason: The Cycle of Instrument Development. Wright B.D. … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1998, 11:4 p. 589.




Rasch Publications
Rasch Measurement Transactions (free, online) Rasch Measurement research papers (free, online) Probabilistic Models for Some Intelligence and Attainment Tests, Georg Rasch Applying the Rasch Model 3rd. Ed., Bond & Fox Best Test Design, Wright & Stone
Rating Scale Analysis, Wright & Masters Introduction to Rasch Measurement, E. Smith & R. Smith Introduction to Many-Facet Rasch Measurement, Thomas Eckes Invariant Measurement: Using Rasch Models in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, George Engelhard, Jr. Statistical Analyses for Language Testers, Rita Green
Rasch Models: Foundations, Recent Developments, and Applications, Fischer & Molenaar Journal of Applied Measurement Rasch models for measurement, David Andrich Constructing Measures, Mark Wilson Rasch Analysis in the Human Sciences, Boone, Stave, Yale
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