Ethics and Data Integrity for Technical Staff

This online course discusses ethics and personal integrity and illustrates how these traits apply to technical staff in a public health or other laboratory. Examples of general workplace ethics are provided. Many of the ways that data integrity can be affected by technical staff are explained, from recognizing when sample integrity has been compromised to documenting errors, handling calibration and quality control issues, and changing or correcting results. Examples are given to show how improper practices and the failure to maintain data integrity can lead to fraud. One section of the course is dedicated to improper laboratory practices and how they can be avoided. Patient confidentiality, temperature records, altering SOPs, improper labeling, and failure to document are among the topics covered in this section. Another area focuses on issues of peak integration. The course ends with an in-depth look at chain-of-custody protocols as they apply to both clinical and environmental laboratories.


Course Level

This is a basic, entry level course.

No prior knowledge of the subject is necessary to participate in this course.


Intended Audience

This course is directed to technical staff at all levels in public health and other laboratories.


Learning Objectives

After completion of this course, the participant will be able to:


Define the terms commonly associated with ethics, data integrity, fraud and Chain of Custody.

Recognize staff's responsibility to conduct themselves ethically in the workplace.

Describe the role of technical staff in maintaining data integrity.

Describe and list examples of improper practices.

Explain the relationship of improper practices to fraud.

Recognize the consequences of fraud.

State the responsibilities of management and staff in preventing fraud.

List actions that can affect sample integrity.

Describe the Chain of Custody process for laboratory samples.




APHL would like to acknowledge the contribution of the following person in development of this course.


Marcia Valbracht

Quality Assurance Engineer

BS, Education


Certified Facilitator, emphasis on the adult learner

State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa

Coralville, Iowa



“Laboratory Ethics and Data Integrity “Train the Trainer” Presentation”, Oregon Technical Advisory Committee (OTAC): Wells, Dennis D., Environmental Science Corporation; Lytle, Charles D., City of Portland, OR. Oct. 2008


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