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A New Interpretation of the Weighted Kappa Coefficients

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Reliability and agreement studies are of paramount importance. They do contribute to the quality of studies by providing information about the amount of error inherent to any diagnosis, score or measurement. Guidelines for reporting reliability and agreement studies were recently provided. While the use of the kappa-like family is advised for categorical and ordinal scales, no further guideline in the choice of a weighting scheme is given. In the present paper, a new simple and practical interpretation of the linear- and quadratic-weighted kappa coefficients is given. This will help researchers in motivating their choice of a weighting scheme.

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This research is part of project 451-13-002 funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. The author thanks three anonymous reviewers and the associate editor for their helpful comments and valuable suggestions on a earlier version of this article.

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Correspondence to Sophie Vanbelle.

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Vanbelle, S. A New Interpretation of the Weighted Kappa Coefficients. Psychometrika 81, 399–410 (2016).

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  • agreement
  • reliability
  • ordinal scale
  • linear
  • quadratic