Hi Mike, This is a very good question. With a sample answer being a "huge, but finite" list of 4 character text abbreviations, we're able to exclude from scale: QN (only numerics and titers); ORDQN (reserved for micro susceptibilities); ORD (ranked ordinal, where one possible answers is someone linked to another possible...positive/negative, 1+, 2+, 3+, 4+). That leaves NOM (non-ordinal nominal values: yellow, clear, turbid.. one answer doesn't rank itself amongst the others) and NAR (paragraph style narratives containing a patient answer.)
The Genetic Sequence of Influenza A organisms can be drawn into an analogy of "here's a substance, report what is found". Same analogy can apply for human genetic testing, urine drug screens or blood bank antibody screens. The NOM (nominal) scale would best suit a possible list of answers like different H1 strains, base sequences, individual drugs detected, individual antibodies detected, particularly suited with the PRID property. The list within one study can be short or long, but it's not constructed in sentences/paragraphs as a Narrative is.
Please write or call if this doesn't help.
Pam Banning, MLS cm(ASCP), PMP
Healthcare Data Analyst
3M Terminology Consulting Services