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 Glossary

 

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A
Accuracy The degree of agreement between an observed value and an accepted reference value; a data quality indicator.
Audit A systematic evaluation to determine the conformance to quantitative specifications of some operational function or activity. Also known as an assessment.
Audit Finding An assessment conclusion, either positive or negative, that identifies a condition having a significant effect on an item or activity and which is normally accompanied by specific examples of the observed condition.
Audit of Data Quality A qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the documentation and procedures associated with environmental measurements to verify that the resulting data are of acceptable quality.

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B
Bias The systematic or persistent distortion of a measurement process.

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C
Comparability The degree to which different methods, data sets, and/or decisions agree or can be represented as similar; a data quality indicator.
Completeness The amount of valid data obtained compared to the planned amount, and usually expressed as a percentage; a data quality indicator.
Corrective Action Measures taken to rectify conditions adverse to quality and, where possible, to preclude their recurrence.
Criteria A standard on which a judgment is based.

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D
Data Facts or figures from which conclusions can be inferred.
Database Collection of integrated data that can be used for a variety of applications.
Data of Known Quality Data are of known quality when the qualitative and quantitative components associated with their derivation are documented appropriately for their intended use and such documentation is verifiable and defensible.
Data Quality Assessment The evaluation of environmental data to determine if they meet the quality criteria required for a specific application.
Data Quality Indicators Qualitative statistics and quantitative descriptors that are used to interpret the degree of acceptability or utility of data to the user. The principal data quality indicators are precision, accuracy, comparability, completeness, and representativeness.
Data Quality Objectives Qualitative and quantitative statements of the overall level of uncertainty that a decision-maker is willing to accept in results or decisions derived from environmental data. DQOs provide the statistical framework for planning and managing environmental data operations consistent with the data user's needs.
Data Validation The process of determining that the data satisfies the requirements as defined by the data user.
Defensible The ability to withstand any reasonable challenge related to the veracity of integrity of laboratory documents and derived data.
Deficiency An unauthorized deviation from acceptable procedures or practices, or a defect in an item.

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E
Environmental Monitoring The process of measuring or collecting environmental data.
Environmental Sample A sample of any material that is collected from an environmental source.

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F
False Negative Estimation that an analyte is not present when it actually is present.
False Positive Estimation that an analyte is present when it is actually not present.

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G
Graded Approach The process of basing the level of application of quality assurance requirements applied to project activities according to the intended use of the results and the degree of confidence needed in the quality of the results.

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H
Hardware Physical equipment such as the computer and its related peripheral devices, tape drives, disk drives, printer, etc.

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I
Internal Audit A systematic evaluation, conducted by QA and technical staff from within an organizational unit, to determine the conformance to quantitative specifications of some operational function or activity.
Information Quality Guidelines The EPA's Guidelines for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information disseminated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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L
Lab Competency Audit An independent technical assessment of laboratory operations. The standard for the Lab Competency Audit is ORD Policy 13.4.

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M
Management Controls Processes and procedures established by management to help assure that requirements are met.
Management Systems Review The qualitative assessment of a data collection operation and/or organization to establish whether the prevailing quality management structure, practices and procedures are adequate for ensuring that the type and quality of data needed and expected are obtained.

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N
NRMRL Quality Team A group of individuals consisting of all NRMRL Quality Assurance Managers (QAMs) and the Director of QA.

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O
ORD QA Policies ORD-wide quality procedures prepared by the ORD QA community and documented in the ORD Policies and Procedures Manual (PPM).

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P
Peer Review A documented critical review of work that is conducted by qualified individuals or organizations that are independent of those who performed the work, but are collectively equivalent in technical expertise (i.e. peers) to those who performed the original work.
Performance Evaluation A type of audit in which the quantitative data generated in a measurement system are obtained independently and compared with data of known quality to evaluate the proficiency of an analyst or laboratory.
Performance Evaluation Sample A sample, the composition of which is unknown to the analyst and is provided to test whether the analyst/laboratory can produce analytical results within specified performance limits.
Precision The degree to which a set of observations or measurements of the same property, usually obtained under similar conditions, conform to themselves; a data quality indicator.
Project File Project-specific research documentation maintained by the technical lead person.

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Q
Quality The sum of features and properties/characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs. The consistent conformance of a product or service to a given set of standards or expectations.
Quality Assurance An integrated system of activities involving planning, quality control, quality assessment, reporting and quality improvement to ensure that a product or service meets defined standards of quality with a stated level of confidence.
Quality Assurance Annual Report and Work Plan A report submitted annually to the EPA Quality Staff that summarizes the results of having implemented the quality system the previous fiscal year and describes QA activities planned for the fiscal year beginning in October.
Quality Assurance Category The designation for the degree of QA that is required, based on the graded approach (i.e., Category I, II, III, or IV).
Quality Assurance Manager Individual responsible for coordinating all QA activities within a Division.
Quality Assurance Project Plan A formal document describing the detailed quality control procedures by which the quality requirements defined for the data and decisions pertaining to a specific project are to be achieved.
Quality Control The overall system of technical activities whose purpose is to measure and control the quality of a product or service so that it meets the needs of users.
Quality Improvement A management program for improving the quality of operations.
Quality Management Plan A formal document describing the management policies, objectives, principles, organization authority, responsibilities, accountability and implementation plan of an agency, organization or laboratory for ensuring quality in its products and utility to its users.
Quality Systems Audit A documented activity performed to verify, by examination and evaluation of objective evidence, that the required organizational quality system elements have been developed, documented, and effectively implemented in accordance with specified requirements.
Quality System Specifications A list of the minimum requirements that must be addressed regarding quality system description, used in cases when a complete QMP is not required.

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R
Records Schedule Specific EPA requirements for records retention, based on the intended use of the data generated.
Representativeness The degree to which data accurately and precisely represent the frequency distribution of a specific variable in the population; a data quality indicator.

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S
Software Computer programs, procedures, rules and associated documentation pertaining to the operation of a computer system.
Standard Operating Procedure A written document that details the method of an operation, analysis, or action whose techniques and procedures are thoroughly prescribed and which is accepted as the method for performing certain routine or repetitive tasks.
Surveillances Continual or frequent monitoring and verification of the status of laboratory quality operations and the analysis of records to ensure that specified requirements are being fulfilled.

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T
Technical Lead Person The person responsible for ensuring the success of the project from a technical perspective. This individual interacts with team members in defining technical requirements, recommendations, and validation.
Technical Systems Audit A thorough, systematic on-site qualitative review of facilities, equipment, personnel, training, procedures, record keeping, data validation, data management and reporting aspects.

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See Also

EPA's Glossary of Quality-Related Terms


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