Research and Development
In the years before publishing the Personality Dimensions® system, Career/LifeSkills Resources conducted extensive research and results analysis to ensure that the theory itself was solidly based. The validity of the tool was demonstrated in a series of ongoing empirically-based tests that considered four basic hypotheses:
That temperament can be generally categorized into 4 types, or dependent measurable variables.
The 4 types can be characterized and adequately described by identifiable values, traits and analysis of exhibited preferences and decisions under controlled conditions.
That people generally exhibit a preference for one of the 4 temperament types and be most comfortable with the values, traits and other behaviours of that type. They will also exhibit and be comfortable with elements of the other types to lesser degrees.
That a statistically valid relationship can be obtained relating the personality elements of Introversion and Extraversion to individuals using a limited number of controlled test elements.
These hypotheses were tested, analyzed and validated in a series of controlled experiments and focus groups completed by over 800 individuals.
Further, second tier, hypotheses were:
That the Personality Dimensions® system was designed with the first tier hypotheses in mind.
That the Personality Dimensions® system accurately assesses and reflects the four temperament types and their respective traits.
This latter set of hypotheses were validated by relating specific elements of the first tier validation studies to elements of the actual instrument, relating the feedback from Focus Groups (there were 127 Focus Groups across Canada, consisting of a mix of experts and lay people) who provided their opinions about the accuracy, clarity, effectiveness and usefulness of the tool. The Focus Group data included a numerical analysis of the elements of the Personality Dimensions® tool itself. An ongoing program of feedback and continuous improvement is administered and analyzed by the publisher to ensure that the system continues to meet each of the established criterions.
This deliberate research is one of the key elements that sets the Personality Dimensions® system apart from other temperament assessments. In developing the system Career/LifeSkills Resources moved from a theoretical perspective into a research mode, then defined, through Focus Group feedback, the memory cues - in this case colours, that would represent each temperament. We added symbols – the question mark, the exclamation mark, the check mark and the hands – to put further emphasis on what each temperament represented and as an additional memory cue. The addition of descriptors to the colour identifiers to emphasize the traits of each colour and reinforce the learning was pioneered in this process. Again, each of these elements of the system came as a direct result of responses from the Focus Groups. Without these key people, and Lynda McKim (primary author) and Rob McKim (researcher), responding to the various drafts of all the materials Personality Dimensions® would not be the system that it is today.
The research also indicated that there was a further key element in personal preferences that had not been addressed in other temperament models: a preference for Introversion or Extraversion. This preference, which examines how we prefer to take in and process information, is often one of the first aspects of our personality, and our communication style, that others are aware of. Prior to the publication of Personality Dimensions® this aspect had not been examined in any temperament theory instrument. Consistency and reliability analysis of the responses to the initial set of questions by the focus groups enabled us to reduce the overall number of questions in this part of the assessment to the current seven items.
In publishing Personality Dimensions®, Career/LifeSkills Resources deliberately developed, and continues to evolve, a system that represents the evolution of personality temperament. It added components that the validation studies and research indicated were key to understanding ourselves and others, and fully acknowledges and fosters awareness of those theorists and models or assessments who have come before.