course introduces the topic of measurement uncertainty and defines the basic
terms of measurement. The reason that all measurements contain some level of
doubt is explained and illustrated. A distinction is made between random and
systematic error and examples are given. The importance of understanding
measurement uncertainty in a laboratory setting is stated and examples are
provided of situations in which the laboratorian will need this knowledge. The
mathematical functions used in calculating standard deviation are demonstrated
and the role of standard deviation in determining measurement uncertainty is
explained. Finally, the user is taken, step by step, through the calculations
necessary to determine the uncertainty of a laboratory sample, using an example
from an environmental chemistry laboratory.
course, graphics, photographs and narration are employed to provide the user
with an interesting and informative experience. Additionally, the course
includes printable training aids and an interactive section to engage the user
and also reinforce the lessons. This course provides a basis for those new to
the subject of measurement uncertainty and a refresher for laboratorians who
would like to review the basics.
All laboratory staff who perform testing that requires
the determination of measurement uncertainty or standard deviation
After completion of this course, the
participant will be able to:
- Identify measurement as a comparison with
some known standard.
- Define terms commonly used to express
measurement in laboratory settings.
- Discuss the difference between precision and
accuracy in measurement.
- Estimate the precision of a measurement by
computing a standard deviation.
- Describe key tools or methods used to
evaluate or estimate uncertainty.
- Identify benefits of proficiency in
calculating measurement uncertainty.
Presenter(s) and/or Content
Marcia Valbracht, BS, MHA
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Creation and/or update
July 9, 2014