Depending on the choice of thin film models and measurement data used for the characterization analysis one can obtain essentially different characterization results. It is especially difficult to reliably determine refractive index wavelength dependencies in the case of low accuracy measurement data. We consider possible approaches aimed to improve a stability of refractive index determination. The ways of the verification of characterization results are also discussed. Practical examples used to illustrate the proposed approaches are connected with the most difficult case of the determination of the refractive indices of fluoride films in the VUV spectral region.© (2003) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.