For most of its history, metallographic observations have been largely qualitative in nature. The structure might be described as being relatively coarse or fine, or layered, or uniform. Particles might be labeled as globular or spheroidal, lamellar, acicular, or blocky. Microstructures were single-phase or duplex, and so forth.
Forty some years ago when I entered industry, chart ratings and visual examinations were the main approach toward quantitation. I can well remember the mill metallographers looking at spheroidized carbide tool steel structures and stating that it was, for example, 90% spheroidized (many raters would never say 100%, just as some teachers would never grade an essay at 100%!) or that it was 60% spheroidized and 40% lamellar tending to spheroidize. Or, without looking at the chart (a seasoned rater never did!), they would pronounce that the grain size was, for example, 100% 6 to 8 or perhaps 70% 8 and 30% 3 to 5 if it was duplex in appearance.