Accreditation and Quality Assurance

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 45–47 | Cite as

Understanding the meaning of accuracy, trueness and precision

  • Antonio MendittoEmail author
  • Marina Patriarca
  • Bertil Magnusson
Discussion Forum


Clear definitions of basic terms, used to describe the quality of measurements, is essential for communication among scientists as well as when reporting measurement results to clients. Even if appropriate definitions are given in international standards and guidelines, the understanding of some basic terms sometimes proves difficult. The reasons for this are various, e.g., the same words being defined rather differently in encyclopaedias and in international standards as well as concepts, well established in some languages, that may be relatively new in other national communities and at large in the international one. Here we present a matrix intended to clarify the relationships between the type of error affecting an analytical measurement, the respective qualitative concepts (performance characteristics) and their quantitative expression.


Terminology Accuracy Trueness Precision 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Menditto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marina Patriarca
    • 1
  • Bertil Magnusson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Food Safety and Public Veterinary HealthIstituto Superiore di SanitàRomeItaly
  2. 2.SP Swedish National Testing and Research InstituteBoråsSweden

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