Liquid Handling App Note

Lab Report 4: Defining Accuracy and Precision

Language influences thinking…

And the careful use of words when evaluating data allows us to understand how best to improve laboratory accuracy. Accuracy is a particularly important concept because it is foundational to the quality of laboratory measurements. Accuracy invokes an image of something that is correct, reliable and trustworthy. As a conceptual goal, accuracy is universally sought after.

However, what exactly do we mean when we speak of accuracy? Try this experiment: The next time someone uses the word “accuracy”, engage in a conversation and try to understand as clearly as possible what they mean by the term. These are some possibilities:

  • Highly consistent results (e.g., a low standard deviation, or small CV).
  • An average which is very close to the true value.
  • Knowing that each measurement correctly represents what is present in the sample

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