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White Paper

Demystifying the Distinction between Calibration and Validation

Ensuring precision in the lab requires thoroughly understanding and consistently applying these two concepts

Man wearing white lab coat holding laptop with graph looks at laboratory equipment.

In the sciences, precision is not just a virtue; it's the guiding force that shapes breakthroughs and safeguards lives. Yet, two terms central to this environment that are often confused are "calibration" and "validation." Calibration and validation are crucial to scientific accuracy, each playing a distinct role in ensuring the reliability and safety of lab results.

Calibration meticulously certifies the accuracy of laboratory equipment. However, validation encompasses a broader evaluation, validating not just the equipment but the entire operational landscape. Beyond certifying calibrated instruments, validation scrutinizes workflows, staff performance, data quality, and more. There's no one-size-fits-all manual for validation: It's a bespoke story crafted for each laboratory's unique needs. 

In the intricate process of lab validation, three protocols guide the steps—Installation Qualification (IQ), Operational Qualification (OQ), and Performance Qualification (PQ). They ensure the equipment, rooms, and processes align with the necessary specifications. 

It's essential to highlight the pivotal role of documentation. Both calibration and validation demand meticulous recordkeeping. Calibration records should trace back to reliable standards, and validation documentation should form a paper trail ensuring that equipment and processes align with the precision needed for credible results.

Download this white paper to learn more about:

  • Distinguishing calibration and validation

  • IQ, OQ, and PQ and how these impact your daily lab functions

  • The vital paperwork associated with calibration and validation