Introduction to Analytical Measurement Uncertainty

Category: Laboratories

Course Summary

This online
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.

Throughout the
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.

Intended Audience

All laboratory staff who perform testing that requires
the determination of measurement uncertainty or standard deviation

Learning Objectives

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.

Pre-requisites/Learning Level

  • No Pre-requisites
  • Competencies addressed

  • Analytical/Assessment Skills, Communications Skills, Public Health Sciences Skills
  • CEUs Offered





    Online Self-Pace


    1 hour

    Presenter(s) and/or Content

    Marcia Valbracht, BS, MHA

    Technical requirements

    • Adobe Acrobat Reader 
    • Flash Player 
    • Speakers

    Registration requirements

    Register a free account

    Creation and/or update

    July 9, 2014